Holland man imprisoned five years for ‘horror novel’ abuse

Daniel Pepper, Staff Writer

A Holland man was sentenced to five to 10 years in state prison for abuse toward his girlfriend a prosecutor and judge compared to a horror novel.

Tyler Andrew Kelley, 23, was sentenced Monday, July 8, in Allegan County Circuit Court on one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and one count of attempted assault with intent to do great bodily harm.

Assistant Allegan County prosecutor Judith Kasson argued the crime was outstandingly horrific.

“This presentence report reads like a horror novel,” Kasson said. “For the eight weeks of their relationship, the victim was beaten repeatedly, cut, choked, beat with a bat, her face beat and basically was constantly made to live in fear.”

Kelley pleaded guilty in April to hitting his then fiancee with a baseball bat and choking her. He was also accused of stabbing her but that count was dropped as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Kasson asked Judge Margaret Zuzich Bakker to sentence Kelly toward the upper end of the guidelines, which were calculated at 67 to 120 months.

“He’s an extreme danger to her or any individual he’s in a relationship with,” Kasson said.

Defense attorney Ryan Anthony Maesen said his client had changed since he’d done those things.

“In the time I’ve interacted with Mr. Kelley, he’s expressed remorse for his actions and he agrees his actions deserve punishment.

“He’s had very severe drug problems leading directly to him being here.”

His client, Maesen said, had gotten sober for the first time in a long time and was now looking at what his actions had done to other people. The lawyer pointed out his client had strong family support.

He asked the court to schedule to the lower end of the guidelines.

Kelley spoke to the court before the sentence was handed down.

“I’d like to say that while I’ve been in here I’ve been sobering up,” he said. “I’m sorry to my family and to (the victim) and her family...

“I was using a lot there was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing.”

Bakker said she agreed with what the prosecutor had said.

“I think Ms. Kasson’s statement is accurate,” Bakker said. “There appears to be a chronic, systemic campaign of abuse toward the victim in this matter.

“There’s previous convictions for domestic violence.

“I don’t know what it will take to ever bring (the victim) to the point where she feels safe.”

The judge rejected the idea that drugs were the cause of Kelley’s abusive behavior.

“Obviously, drugs co-occur with people who commit partner violence, but it’s the not the cause of partner violence,” Bakker said. “The cause of partner violence is power and control.

“That’s really the issue you need to deal with.”

For the count of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm, Kelley was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison and for the count of attempted assault with intent to commit great bodily harm Kelley was sentenced to four to ten years. He was given credit for 219 days already served.

As part of plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop a count of torture, another count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, one count of domestic violence third offense and one count of assault with a dangerous weapon.

Contact Dan Pepper at dpepper@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534.


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