LYNDEN - A Lynden man pleaded guilty Thursday, July 18, to briefly binding his girlfriend in a storage locker and attacking her with a knife.
Joshua John Randall Jeklin, 28, faces eight years in prison for kidnapping and assaulting his 18-year-old girlfriend of two years.
Their relationship turned rocky in the months leading up to the crime. On Aug. 18, 2012, while they were in a park together, she told him she wanted to break up, according to charging documents filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.
They left the park, and Jeklin said he needed to swing by his storage locker. She agreed to go with him. They left two children in the car for what was expected to be a quick errand. But Jeklin grabbed her from behind, pulled her down a hallway and told her she wasn't going anywhere, according to the charges. He wrapped several layers of duct tape around her head, then bound her ankles with twine.
Jeklin threatened to stab her if she didn't put her hands behind her back. He put the knife to her throat and wrote profanities on her stomach. Eventually, he cut her right upper arm. Prosecutors alleged he sexually assaulted her at knifepoint, but those charges were dropped in a plea deal.
"The most important thing was to get him in prison for a good, long time," said Deputy Prosecutor James Hulbert.
Jeklin went out to check on his children more than once during the assault. Afterward he drove them, and the victim, from the scene. She reported what happened to police, and officers arrived at an address on Vinup Road to find her arm bloodied, with bits of duct tape still stuck in her hair.
Jeklin confessed to a Lynden detective. He recalled "getting to the point where he could have killed her," and described himself as "very brutal," according to the charges.
He pleaded guilty this week to first-degree kidnapping and two counts of second-degree assault with a knife. A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.
State court records show Jeklin had no felony history. But in a request for a protection order filed in 2008, a previous girlfriend alleged long-term domestic abuse.