MOUNT CLEMENS (WWJ/AP) – A 24-year-old man who apparently tried to kill his ex-girlfriend and stuff her into a Christmas tree bag in the basement of her metro Detroit home has been sentenced to spend the next seven years behind bars.
Macomb County Circuit Judge Mary Chrzanowski sentenced Jonathan Elbers on Thursday. Elbers pleaded no contest to five charges in the case, including attempted murder, unlawful imprisonment and home invasion, just before he was to stand trial last month.
A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt, but is treated as such for sentencing.
Police said they were called to Charlotte Ventimiglia’s Chesterfield Township home on April 5 by her parents, who were in Florida at the time. The parents told police their then- 20-year-old daughter was talking with a friend online over Skype when there was a disturbance at the front door.
“She never came back to the computer to continue the Skyping,” Macomb County Prosecutor Bill Cataldo told WWJ. The friend, after hearing an argument, contacted the Ventimiglia’s parents, who then contacted police.
When officers arrived at the home, they heard Ventimiglia yelling for help and saw Elbers bleeding heavily from a head wound.
Elbers refused to comply with officers’ commands and a struggle ensued, with Elbers ultimately breaking free and fleeing on foot. He was eventually captured two days later, while hiding in a deer blind in a heavily wooded area near I-94 and New Haven Road.
Ventimiglia told police that Elbers was in the process of tying her up and forcing her into a large Christmas tree bag when officers arrived. She said Elbers choked her and told her that he planned to put her into the back of his truck and shoot her in the head. She explained that when Elbers heard police arrived, he paused and she took that opportunity to strike him in the head with a porcelain statue.
“She had in fact been wrapped up in a plastic bag, tied up with electrical wire. They found a loaded 22-long rifle,” Cataldo said.
According to police, Elbers was distraught over a recent break-up with Ventimiglia at the time of the attack.
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