COLUMBUS — A 41-year-old Leigh man pleaded no contest Tuesday to assaulting a former girlfriend and throwing bricks through the windows of her van when she refused to allow him to borrow her vehicle to haul scrap metal.

John Therkildsen entered his plea to third-degree assault in Platte County Court stemming from the incident in which he barged into the woman’s Columbus apartment around 1 a.m. June 20 and struck her with a golf club and stereo speaker.

Judge Frank Skorupa scheduled Therkildsen for sentencing Jan. 24. The defendant had been set for a Dec. 19 jury trial before entering his plea.

The assault conviction is a Class I misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of one year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine. In exchange for his plea, the prosecution dismissed charges of first-degree trespassing and criminal mischief.

According to court documents, earlier on that June night Therkildsen asked to borrow the victim’s 1999 Chevrolet Venture van to haul scrap iron for sale at a local scrapyard.

“(The victim) said she told him no, and believes this made him angry,” Columbus Police Officer Scott Hanis wrote in his statement supporting Therkildsen’s arrest.

Earlier, the officer wrote, two driver's side windows and the rear window were broken in the victim’s van, with two bricks recovered from inside the vehicle.

Therkildsen was released from prison in September 2015 after serving nearly three years of a six- to 11-year sentence for theft convictions in Platte County involving the sale of stolen property at a city scrapyard.

The 2011-12 thefts involved radiators and batteries stolen from vehicles and an air conditioning unit and other metal items take from the backyard of a local home.



Jim Osborn is a news reporter at The Columbus Telegram.

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