Overweight Man Phones in Guilty Plea
Feb. 03, 1989
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) _ A 500-pound man unable to appear in court because he was too obese and too ill was allowed to plead guilty by telephone to assault and battery charges.
David Streefkerk, 39, of Hazel Park made the call from his bed Thursday to Oakland County Circuit Judge Gene Schnelz. In addition to the severe obesity, Streefkerk has congestive heart failure, advanced diabetes and lung disease, according to his doctors.
He could face up to 90 days in jail and a $100 fine at his Feb. 27 sentencing. Schnelz said he may grant a suspended sentence because Streefkerk is penniless and terminally ill.
Streefkerk initially was charged with felonious assault for allegedly pointing a loaded gun at a man last June during an argument, county Assistant Prosecutor Steven Meads said. The charge was reduced to assault and battery.
Robert Cleland, president of the Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Association, said he was unaware of any other case in which a guilty plea was made by phone.