A former Michigan middle school teacher faces life in prison after pleading no contest to trying to kill his wife by slitting her throat — and admitting to an 18-month sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student, PEOPLE confirms.
On Tuesday, James Philip Chelekis, 32, of Wyoming, Michigan, pleaded no contest to assault with intent to murder, according to court records obtained by PEOPLE.
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Chelekis sliced his wife’s throat open during an argument in June while the couple’s children were home, the Detroit Free Press reports. The children were not aware of the attack at the time and were not harmed, the outlet reports.
Chelekis, who taught math at Crestwood Middle School in the Kentwood Public School District for six years, also pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
In exchange for his pleas, the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed a charge of carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, Mlive.com reports.
The three charges — all felonies – could land him in prison for life. He is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 23 for sentencing. He remains in the Kent County Jail on a $1 million bond.
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Police were called to the couple’s Wyoming home shortly before 6 a.m. on June 27 and found the man’s wife, Amanda Chelekis, 33, with her throat cut from one end to the other, Mlive.com reported at the time.
She miraculously survived the attack, telling police her husband tried to kill her, according to local news station WZZM 13.
Chelekis told police that he armed himself with a knife during an argument with his wife, Mlive.com reported, citing court records. During the fight, he said both he and his wife fell, which caused the injuries to her throat.
But court records also show that police found that she had defensive wounds on her hands that were consistent with a knife attack, WZZM 13 reports.
During the investigation of the attack, police learned that Chelekis was having a sexual relationship with a then 14-year-old student at the middle school where he taught, Mlive.com reports.
Now 15, the student told police that she and Chelekis had a sexual relationship for a year and a half, according to Mlive.com. Text messages and photos confirmed the relationship, police said, according to Mlive.com.
Police said Chelekis’ wife didn’t know about the relationship with the student until after the attack. She filed for divorce shortly after the attack, court records show.
The school district placed Chelekis on administrative leave after criminal charges were filed. He is no longer employed by the district.
Chelekis attorney, Shawn Perry, tells PEOPLE, “Mr. Chelekis has accepted responsibility and it has been very important to him that he cause no more pain to the victims.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, Kent County Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Becker writes, “This has to be one of the more troubling cases I’ve seen in my time in this office. To slit the mother of your children’s throat, and then to hold her there while she’s bleeding, and texting the teen-aged girl you’ve been molesting during all of this shows a complete callousness that is rarely seen even in my line of work.”
Calls for comment to the district attorney were not immediately returned.