Ex-Teacher Sentenced to 30 to 60 Years in Prison


James Chelekis, former Kentwood middle school teacher, slit his wife’s throat and then he read Bible verses out loud. The problem he was trying to solve by killing his wife was his sexual “relationship” with a 14-year-old girl. Luckily, the woman survived because she knew how to put her head to prevent blood from entering her airways, due to her nurse training. At the end, the girl whom he had been sexually assaulting for a year convinced him to call 911.

The middle schooler was the one who talked him into calling 911, 55 minutes after the attack.

“He came out of the closet behind me, my head was tipped back resting on the back of the chair with my eyes closed. Standing behind me, he kissed my forehead and slit my throat from one side to the other,” said the former Amanda Chelekis, who has divorced the man who tried to kill her. She now goes by another last name but preferred to be referred to by her first name only.

She said that it was her training as a nurse that allowed her to position her head so that the blood did not fill her airways. She permanently injured her hands struggling for the knife.

Chelekis pleaded guilty to attempted murder and two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against a child, but, after all, he continued to contact the young girl he sexually assaulted earlier.

“Someday when it is developmentally appropriate, I have to tell (my children) their father is not with us because he tried to kill me,” Amanda said as her husband wept a few feet away.

Her husband had been having sex with a 14-year-old girl for the better part of a year. Even after he was arrested and jailed, Chelekis continued to contact his child victim.

The girl’s mother wrote a letter read by Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Monica Janiskee, in which the mom said the teacher befriended the girl and her family, would pray with them and even promised to marry the girl who would sometimes babysit his children.

“He was successful at fooling colleagues, school officials and many other adults, including my husband and me, so I’m not surprised how he was able to brainwash our impressionable and vulnerable child as well,” the mother of the girl wrote in a letter read by Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Monica Janiskee.

James Chelekis pleaded no contest to assault with intent to murder. The attorney for the ex-math teacher, Shawn Perry, said her client’s actions were the result of untreated mental illness. “I don’t buy this mental health stuff,” Kent County Circuit Court Judge Paul Sullivan. “You…did want her to die, you expected her to die, you wondered why it was taking so long to die.”

Photo Credits: The Odyssey Online

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