MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) — Prosecutors for Marquette County provided further insight into the case that lead to Branden Klyk being sentenced to over two decades behind bars.

That happened Thursday, when a judge gave him 22 to 40 years for half a dozen charges. Among them were a third offense of domestic violence, torture, and criminal sexual conduct.

In reviewing Klyk’s criminal history Local 3 found more charges dated a year before his arrest in this case, including false imprisonment. Court documents show those were filed in Wisconsin. 

The Marquette county prosecutor told us the victim was in a 3 year relationship with Klyk, and his office was able to roll in those previous crimes against her to bolster the case that put him behind bars. 

Assistant prosecutor Hailey Kimball-Dexter served as co-counsel for this case, and describes how situations like this begin.

It started with him, the first time punching her in the face and denying that he did that, kind of gaslighting, manipulating her to believe that ‘oh, he didn’t actually punch her in the face he had just slapped her,’ as if that’s better right.

But he, you know, engaged in these common power and control manipulation tactics that domestic abusers employ in order to control their victims. And so the abuse escalated over time.

Hailey Kimball-Dexter, Marquette Co. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

A year after that, the abuse escalated to a near-deadly level, with an expert testifying the evidence of strangulation was the worst she had ever seen. The prosecutors say despite how helpless current victims of abuse can feel, they can get out

The prosecutors describe the woman in the case as brave, and had this to say about victims who may be too afraid to seek help. “It’s not gonna get better if they don’t,” said Marquette County Prosecutor Matthew Weise. “It’s still likely to get worse. This is pattern behavior that does not change without intervention.”

Kimball-Dexter said, “I would also add that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The victim, you know, we had a lot of contact with her during this case. She was really struggling for a long time as we expect of somebody who’s been through something traumatic like this. She’s still dealing with it to a degree but she’s doing a lot better, and she’s in a new relationship. It’s, you know, the sort of happy ending that we hope for.”

Victims of abuse can get in touch with the Women’s Center, which can confidentially help create a safety plan to leave the relationship. It also can provide support counseling, and a place to stay. They say if you feel your life is in danger, call the police.