Prosecutors announced plans to add a first-degree kidnapping charge in the domestic violence case against a Las Vegas fire captain after his wife testified Monday that he rejected her screams for medical help.
Sheldon Plehn, 37, already faces charges of domestic battery with substantial bodily harm, assault and coercion.
Jaclyn Plehn testified during a preliminary hearing that the couple had discussed divorce for several months before he threatened her on the evening of Dec. 8.
She said she left their home in her Jeep, and he chased after her in his Model S Tesla, forcing her off the road, blocking her vehicle against a Joshua tree and yanking her out.
“I was screaming ‘help,’” she told Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Elana Lee Graham.
He grabbed her phone and smashed it, the woman said, before pulling her hair, covering her mouth with his hand and wrapping his arm around her neck.
She said she hit her head and started to bleed when he tried to shove her into the passenger side of her vehicle.
She said she screamed, “How could you do this to me?” She said she then asked him to call 911, but he refused and climbed into the driver’s seat of her vehicle, and she ran back toward their home.
Defense attorney Tom Pitaro tried to show, through the woman’s testimony and text messages she sent at the time, that she was suicidal. Pitaro also tried to show that her husband, a firefighter and paramedic, had offered to treat her.
When the lawyer pressed her, she said, “I wasn’t actually suicidal. I was doing that so he wouldn’t come after me to hurt me.”
Pitaro asked whether her husband knew she carried a gun in her purse, and she said he did.
That night, Jaclyn Plehn flagged down a couple driving east on Cold Creek Road toward U.S. Highway 95 and asked them to dial 911.
As the couple pulled over, a man — whom police later identified as Sheldon Plehn — was screaming at his wife to get back into her car. But the couple instead told the woman to get into their vehicle, and they sped off toward the highway, where they called 911 and waited for police to arrive.
Jaclyn Plehn told police at the time that she had become fearful because he had been abusive for the past year, though she had not reported prior abuse.
She told police at the time that the two were separated and that the separation was likely to end in a divorce.
The judge is scheduled to hear arguments later this month and decide whether prosecutors have enough evidence to take the case to a jury.
City spokesman David Riggleman said Sheldon Plehn is on administrative leave without pay.