A man who threatened to kill his wife after a week of marriage could spend up to 10 years in prison.
On Tuesday, a jury found Mark Bergenske guilty of two counts of aggravated assault.
The former Post Falls man was charged after he had threatened his wife, Susan Bergenske, and his neighbor with a fireplace poker in October.
Bergenske told the women, “I’m going to kill you; I’ve got to kill you both,” according to Lansing Haynes, Kootenai County deputy prosecutor.”He was one swing of the arm away from carrying that threat out,” Haynes said.
Mark Bergenske, 36, had been charged with nine crimes ranging from aggravated assault to rape.
During the attack, Bergenske held a gun to his wife’s head and fired, according to Post Falls police. The shot barely missed her.
Later, she ran to Anita Skrobut’s house for help. Her husband followed, threatening to kill the women with a fire poker.”Susan was trembling; she pleaded for her life,” Haynes told the jury.
Most of the charges were dropped after Susan Bergenske returned to her husband and failed to testify against him at a preliminary hearing.
Eventually, she agreed to testify against her husband on the two remaining charges at this week’s trial.
Susan Bergenske said she changed her mind after Mark Bergenske again beat her and her 23-year-old daughter in Colorado on Valentine’s Day.”He beat my daughter and that’s where I had to draw the line,” she said.
Mark Bergenske also faces assault charges in Colorado, Haynes said.
Fred Loats, Mark Bergenske’s attorney, said Susan Bergenske should not be believed because she changed her story and has returned to her husband numerous times.
“Depending on whether she likes Mark or doesn’t like Mark, she’s willing to say anything,” he said.
Susan Bergenske told Judge James Judd on Tuesday: “On several occasions, Mark told me that if he were to be found guilty, he would kill himself because he would not go to jail and he would kill me, too.”
Mark Bergenske also is facing five charges in Post Falls for allegedly threatening to kill police officers by sticking an ice pick through their heads, according to police reports.
Judd ordered Mark Bergenske to be held in jail without bail until his sentencing hearing June 15.
“I feel safe now for the first time in a long time,” Susan Bergenske said.