GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids man claiming he’s too large to go to court to face the felony charges levied against him says he’s already suffering enough.
“I am living in my own prison system,” said Jeff Klein, 44, who says his health issues have caused his case to remain unresolved for two years. “I am suffering.”
Klein was charged in 2012 after police say he called in a bomb threat to a mobile home community in Cedar Springs. In a phone interview News 18’s sister station WISH-TV, Klein admitted to the crime.
“I’m very sorry for what I did,” Klein said. “Nowadays it’s serious because everybody is blowing up things…I know this is serious…I’m sorry.”
Klein’s case has been delayed repeatedly. At least once, he had a medical episode at the courthouse. Other times he simply didn’t show up. His attorney on Tuesday told the Kent County circuit court judge presiding over the case that his client was bedridden.
Klein is currently hospitalized after becoming ill Wednesday, the same day WISH-TV captured and aired video of the allegedly bedridden man driving his car down the southeast Grand Rapids street where he lives.
WISH-TV witnessed Klein driving by his home twice in his green 1997 Ford Crown Victoria. He never stopped at the home in an apparent effort to avoid the camera crew.
“I had to go to the hospital,” Klein said of the outing, adding that he “almost passed out” while getting into his car.
Klein’s neighbors say he comes and goes regularly, but Klein denies that claim.
“I can’t even put a pair of pants on without help,” Klein said.
Much like the prosecutor and judge working on this case, Klein says wants his case resolved.
“It just has been too long,” he said. “Yeah, I messed up.”
He does not, however, think he should be incarcerated for the crime that could send him to prison for more than a decade.
Normally the charge for calling in a false bomb threat carries a potential four year prison sentence, but because Klein has faced felony charges related to fraud and embezzlement in the past, the potential sentence is greater.
Klein says he thinks house arrest or probation would be appropriate punishments for the crime and says the prison system could not handle him at his current weight that he says is 625 pounds or more.
“I’m so messed up as far as weight and health issues,” Klein said. “It would cost tax payers.”
When pressed, Klein vehemently denied using his weight issue to avoid going to prison.
“Nope,” he said. “I have been to prison. When I was younger I went to prison.”
For the justice process to move forward, prosecutors want Klein to come to court on his own. Klein says that’s not an option.
“If I was to fall like I have in the past…It don’t take one guy. It don’t take two guys. I’m not a normal guy,” Klien said. “I can’t get into the court without any help.”
He says help would cost $2,000 to $3,000 and would involve an ambulance bringing him to court. Now that he’s hospitalized again, it could delay the case even further, he says.
“They want me to go to inpatient rehabilitation,” Klein said. “Technically I am not supposed to be doing anything and it’s documented.”
Klein says he is a father and is engaged to be married.
“I don’t need to suffer no more,” Klein said. “I can’t do nothing that a real father would do.”
“I’m worried I’m gonna die.”