the terpening divorce filing

December 27, 2012

Michael Terpening Arriving PrisonMichael Terpening has arrived at prison.  He is inmate number 859537 for at least the next 10 years. His earliest release date is October 7, 2022 with a maximum discharge date of October 7, 2027.

Michael's wife was present for his sentencing earlier this month sitting behind her husband. The following day she was at the defense table with Terpening in Probate Court. At that hearing neither Terpening looked at the other during the proceeding even though they were only separated by Terpening's attorney.

The divorce case was signed by Mrs. Terpening December 5, 2012 and Michael Terpening acknowledged service by signature later at the jail the later the same day after he was sentenced.

The Terpening's both face civil charges in a neglect/abuse case before the Barry County Family Court which is likely to result in Michael's rights to his 3 biological and 5 adopted children being terminated. In Michigan, evidence a person abuses other children is considered evidence that person would abuse their own children. Given Terpening's conviction it seems unlikely a probate court jury would exonerate him of the charges in the probate court, which have a lower standard of proof than is required to get a criminal conviction.

This website has learned from family sources Mrs. Terpening is pregnant with what will be child number nine. The divorce filing, however, states Mrs. Terpening is not pregnant. Again, we note this document was filed December with the Barry County Circuit Court.

This website has reported on allegations of abuse by Michael Terpening on his wife according to a former farm hand and boyfriend of Terpening's sister, Keri Terpening. Yet , questions were also raised at trial about the veracity of Mrs. Terpening's testimony for her husband seemingly trying to explain away DNA evidence. (Click here to read our coverage)...and if she was planning a divorce why would she be at Terpening's sentencing?

And there is this piece of interesting data a check with the Barry County Clerk's office reveals the attorney representing Mrs. Terpening is also the attorney for Terpening's other sister, Ryon Ann Keeler in a on-going probate court case. According to information the Law Weather's website, attorney Stephanie Fekkes is currently the City Attorney for Hastings and is a former Probate Court judge. (Click here for the link!) Mrs. Terpening is also represented by  Suanne Watt Stay in this matter.

Now before anyone comments on conflict's of interest for the lawyer, it should be made clear Ryon Ann Keeler's last attorney in the case now being handled attorney Fekkes is the judge who just departed from the sentencing guidelines giving Terpening 10-15 in prison. Under the guidelines he faced 51-85 months in prison.

Click here to read the document as filed in Barry County Circuit Court