Ludington man gets 19 years prison for kidnap, assault

June 20, 2018

Jason Kapala is escorted into Ottawa County Circuit Court. Photo used by permission, Grand Haven Tribune.

Ludington man gets 19 years prison for kidnap, assault

By Becky Vargo, Grand Haven Tribune.

OTTAWA COUNTY — Jason Kapala apologized to his victim – his former girlfriend – and his own family prior to being sentenced to a minimum 19 years in prison for a Christmas Eve attack on the woman he described as his best friend.

“I just hope everyone I’ve hurt can heal and move forward with their lives,” the 30-year-old Ludington man said when given a chance to comment before sentencing.

The victim, who pushed for a lengthy prison sentence for the man, said she constantly has flashbacks about the Dec. 23-24, 2017, events when Kapala terrorized her.

“I am constantly looking over my shoulder,” she said. “I thought I was a strong-minded woman. This has broken me.”

The victim said it’s difficult trying to explain to her 6-year-old child why her neck was cut and why she jumps when she sees a car that looks like the one Kapala drove.

“It broke my heart seeing him worry about mommy,” she said.

The child was at the Holland Township home when Kapala became angry with the victim and head-butted her in the nose, according to police.

Kapala held a knife to the victim’s throat and choked her until her body went weak. He then forced her into a car against her will, Judge Jon Hulsing said during a May 21 plea hearing.

“You told me you would disfigure me by cutting my arms, my legs and face,” the victim said while making her statement Monday morning in Ottawa County Circuit Court.

The victim called Kapala’s behavior “twisted and demented.”

“You made me feel helpless and worthless,” she said, directing her comments toward the man dressed in a red- and white-striped jail uniform.

On May 21, Kapala pleaded no contest to unlawful imprisonment (carries a penalty up to 15 years); assault by strangulation (penalty up to 10 years); domestic violence third (penalty up to five years); and felonious assault (penalty up to four years). Habitual offender raises the first three counts up to life in prison. 

At sentencing, Judge Hulsing noted that Kapala had prior assault convictions in 2008 for resisting and opposing a police officer, and in 2009 for criminal sexual conduct fourth degree.

In 2015, “you choked your sister,” Hulsing said. “Your father pulled you off her.”

There was another domestic violence conviction in 2016, prior to the current incident.

“You pose a present and continuing danger to those closest to you,” said Hulsing.

Hulsing ordered Kapala to serve 19-40 years in prison for unlawful imprisonment and strangulation, and domestic violence. He sentenced the man to 10-15 years prison for felonious assault. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

Kapala was given credit for 158 days served in jail.

See related story here.

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