Man Pleads Not Guilty in Pregnant Woman’s Stabbing at San Diego ATM

Man Pleads Not Guilty in Pregnant Woman’s Stabbing at San Diego ATM

Cole Klemke, 27, of Carmel Valley in surveillance camera images. (San Diego Police Department)

City News Service
City News Service

6/21/2024

Updated: 6/21/2024

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SAN DIEGO—A man who allegedly stabbed a pregnant woman multiple times at a drive-through ATM in Mira Mesa in what a prosecutor described as a “premeditated and unprovoked attack'' pleaded not guilty June 20 to charges that include attempted murder.
Cole Klemke, 27, of Carmel Valley on California’s Central Coast, is accused of attacking the victim—who was four months pregnant—at around 10 a.m. Saturday near the Target store on Mira Mesa Boulevard.
Deputy District Attorney Spencer Sharpe alleged Mr. Klemke watched the victim for about a minute from across the parking lot as she pulled up to the ATM and exited her vehicle in order to reach the machine.
After she withdrew cash, the prosecutor said Mr. Klemke walked up to her, then stabbed her in the face, slit her throat, pushed her to the ground, and continued stabbing her. Mr. Sharpe said the victim was able to fight Mr. Klemke off and he fled the scene. Surveillance footage captured the entire encounter, the prosecutor said.
Police said the attack happened without any words exchanged between the victim and her attacker before she was stabbed. Mr. Sharpe declined to discuss the victim’s condition as of Thursday, but said she’s since been released from a hospital.
Mr. Klemke was arrested one day after the stabbing. He remains in custody without bail following Thursday afternoon’s arraignment.
Mr. Klemke faces up to 14 years and 10 months to life in state prison if convicted of all charges. Along with attempted murder, he’s charged with mayhem and robbery in connection with the stabbing.
He’s also charged with felony vandalism and brandishing a knife in connection with a separate incident that allegedly occurred two weeks before the stabbing.
Mr. Sharpe said that on June 1, Mr. Klemke accosted a man who was driving to work. The prosecutor said Mr. Klemke stood in front of the man’s vehicle, carved an X on the victim’s hood with a knife, and demanded the man get out of his car, but the victim drove off.
Mr. Klemke was arrested in connection with that alleged incident, but the case remained under review by prosecutors when the June 15 stabbing happened, Mr. Sharpe said.
Court documents indicate that family members also sought a restraining order against Mr. Klemke, citing incidents of violent threats against his parents. The documents state that family members sought to get him treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues, but Mr. Klemke refused.
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