Man pleads no contest to imprisoning, choking Holland girlfriend
By Audra Gamble
The man held a knife to his girlfriend’s throat.
GRAND HAVEN — A Ludington man pleaded no contest on Monday, May 21, to several charges relating to the imprisonment of and domestic violence toward his Holland Township girlfriend.
Jason Matthew Kapala, 30, assaulted and imprisoned his girlfriend in her Holland Township apartment just before Christmas last year.
Between Dec. 23-24, Kapala got angry with his girlfriend while visiting her home and head-butted her, injuring her nose. He also held a knife to her throat and did not let her leave, choked her until her vision was impaired and she felt weak and forced her into a car against her will.
The incident was not reported to police until Thursday, Jan. 4, when the victim presented herself at a medical facility for treatment of her injuries sustained during the incident.
“It’s just a sad, classic case of domestic violence by someone who, frankly, is quite a menace,” said Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Mark Bennett in January. “The victim was held against her will in her own apartment. She was ultimately able to leave there of her own accord, but not until she was held there for over a day.”
During the incident, the victim’s 6-year-old child was present in the apartment. Though the victim suffered significant injuries, the child was unharmed.
Kapala pleaded no contest to unlawful imprisonment, assault by strangulation, domestic violence third offense, felonious assault and being a habitual offender. Because Kapala is a habitual offender, the first three charges are punishable by up to life in prison. Had he not been a habitual offender, Kapala would still have faced up to 34 years in prison. He is also facing up to $32,000 in fines.
In exchange for his no contest plea, Kapala will not be prosecuted for an additional count of criminal sexual conduct.
“This was an extremely serious assault and there will be some serious consequences as a result of this,” said Judge Jon Hulsing before accepting Kapala’s May 21 plea. “You’re looking at life (in prison).”
Kapala has an extensive criminal history in Ludington, including spending three months in jail in 2016 for domestic violence. He was also found guilty of assault by strangulation and interfering with electronic communication in 2015. He’s also been convicted of criminal sexual conduct in 2009 and resisting/opposing a police officer in 2008.
“With his record, I don’t have a fear that he’s going to get out of jail any time soon,” Bennett said. “I think he’s where he ought to be.”
Kapala will be sentenced by Hulsing on June 18 and will remain in the Ottawa County Jail until he is transferred to a Michigan Department of Corrections prison.
— Follow this reporter on Twitter @SentinelAudra. Grand Haven Tribune reporter Becky Vargo contributed to this report.