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625-pound bomb threat suspect poses problem for the courts

Jeffery Allan Klein
Jeffery Allan Klein
Cedar Springs Jail

All indications point to the likely guilt of Jeffery Allan Klein, 44, of Cedar Springs, Mich. Police Officer Michael Stahl maintains that in August 2012 Klein confessed to calling in a fake bomb threat call to 911 because he was angry at the management of the trailer park where he lived. But Klein still hasn't had his day in court.

The reason? In the intervening years, he put on a few pounds — 625 of them, to be exact — and is bed-ridden. According to MLive:

In the two years since he was charged, Klein has missed numerous hearings in Kent County Circuit Court before Judge Dennis Leiber. This led to the court issuing a warrant for Klein’s arrest.

[...]

Klein’s attorney, Damian Nunzio, told Leiber [that his client] is confined to a special bed that is 5-feet wide and would have to be moved from his home, transported by a special ambulance and taken to the 10th floor of the Kent County Courthouse via the freight elevator.

Nunzio estimates the cost of moving him at between $2,000 and $3,000, and it would require the help of paramedics.

Nunzio said if his client were to be convicted, his health concerns would present a serious challenge for the Kent County Jail and the Michigan Department of Corrections.

But the prosecutor in the case, James Benison, isn't taking Nunzio's sob story lying down. He claims that Klein has demonstrated the ability to get out and about when he really wants to. Benison has even has offered Klein a chance to plead as charged in exchange for the court's dismissing a supplemental sentencing of Klein as a repeat offender. (He has four other felony convictions on his record.)

This past Tuesday, the judge said his patience was running thin. He gave the lawyers until tomorrow to come up with a resolution. Said Judge Leiber:

This case is exceeding old and involves a defendant who is exceedingly large. This simply cannot continue.