Imlay Twp. man enters guilty plea
Distraught veterinarian to be sentenced for holding wife hostage last January
|Dr. Kurt Henkel|
February 06, 2008LAPEER — Rather than face a jury, Dr. Kurt Henkel will stand before Judge Justus Scott later this month for sentencing for unlawful imprisonment.
The Imlay Twp. resident and Lapeer County Prosecutor's office settled on a plea agreement last week.
Henkel, 44, has been jailed since Jan. 31, 2007, after holding his wife, Amber, 25, hostage in their Country Pride Lane home. Facing multiple charges, Henkel pleaded to the most serious—unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony—and interference with electronic communication which carries up to two years in prison.
In exchange, the prosecutor's office will not pursue additional charges of felonious assault, discharge of a firearm in a building or false report of a bomb threat, all four year felonies.
Reports say a heavily-armed Henkel barricaded himself and Amber in the basement of their home and while negotiating with police, intimated that he'd left a bomb at his daughter's day care center in Lapeer. That threat proved to be false.
Henkel was apparently distraught over his belief that Amber was going to leave him.
He eventually released his wife, who had been handcuffed to a pole, after several hours and gave himself up to police about a half-hour later.
Prosecutor Byron Konschuh said Amber Henkel gave her consent to the plea agreement. In pre-trial testimony, she indicated that she has since filed for divorce from Henkel.
"We always make sure the victim has input in any case," he said.
"We have the ultimate authority but we always want to take their wishes into account."
Although he won't face weapon-related charges, the fact that he used them—four in total—during the incident, will factor into the pre-sentence report adult probation will issue for the court's consideration. Yet, the fact that he had no prior criminal record will also be taken into account, Konschuh said.
"The whole situation came as a shock to everyone," Konschuh said of the dramatic fashion in which the domestic dispute unfolded.
"He had advanced degrees and a professional practice."
Henkel had been employed at the Imlay City Veterinary Clinic for less than six months prior to his arrest.
Sentencing will take place Feb. 26.