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6 days before her murder, Rehfeld sought protection from contract killing suspect
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6 days before her murder, Rehfeld sought protection from contract killing suspect

“I feel my life is in danger.”

Those words were written in the free hand of Jessica Rehfeld, just six days before the 22-year-old Rapid City woman was stabbed to death and buried in a shallow grave.

The man she wrote about in that formal request for judicial protection — Jonathon Klinetobe — is the person who paid two men to kill Rehfeld last year, according to police.

Five frightened women, including Rehfeld, filed court requests for protection from Klinetobe during the past year, court records show.

Six days before she was stabbed to death on May 18, 2015, Rehfeld hand-wrote a request for a domestic abuse protection order against Klinetobe, a former boyfriend. Rehfeld said he had threatened to kill her and she was afraid for her life, according to Pennington County Court documents.

“He has threatened me with choking me, slitting my throat, shooting me, or even raping me,” she wrote of an incident that occurred on the evening of May 11, 2015. “Jonathon repeatedly called and texted me, harassing me and threatening me as well as friends and family.”

The previous day, she wrote, Klinetobe assaulted her, resulting in a busted lip and a bruise.

In the year since Rehfeld went missing, four other women have made similar court filings, including another ex-girlfriend and the mother of his newborn child.

Klinetobe, 26, and two other men face first-degree murder charges in the death of Rehfeld; two other men face accessory-to-murder charges for moving her body from one remote grave to another, police say. The death of Rehfeld and the arrests related to her killing were announced in Rapid City on Tuesday.

On May 12, 2015, Rehfeld asked the Seventh Circuit Court in Pennington County for a protection order against Klinetobe that would be good for five years, the maximum period that could be granted.

The five-page document detailed the protection-order provisions Rehfeld requested: prevent Klinetobe from coming within 100 yards of her, her workplace, her home and those of a friend and relative; restrain him from causing her physical and emotional harm; and forbid him from getting in touch with her unless authorized by a court order.  

Until the protection order could be granted, Rehfeld asked the court for a temporary protection order.

A temporary protection order, valid from May 13 to June 10, 2015, was granted by Circuit Court Judge Robert Gusinsky.

The day it came into effect, a Pennington County sheriff’s deputy served Klinetobe a copy of the temporary protection order. At the same time, he was given a notice to appear in court for a protection-order hearing on June 9.

Police said Rehfeld was murdered on May 18, 2015.

Rehfeld never showed up in court that month or the next. On July 7, the judge dismissed the case because of her failure to appear for her own petition.

Among the four other women who also filed for protection orders against Klinetobe is the mother of his 5-week-old son, documents show.

In a court filing that was submitted on Tuesday, the 21-year-old woman who apparently knew that Klinetobe had been charged with Rehfeld's murder and was now in jail, tried to seek extra protection from him.

She said that while Klinetobe has not harmed her, he has threatened to kill her mother and sister.

"I fear that if he is released and he gets upset with me, he may do the same to me," she wrote.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Rapid City Journal from February 2016 to July 2018. Contact her on Facebook or Twitter @tiffgtan.

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