Man sentenced in hostage case

ESCANABA – A Flat Rock man who held his wife hostage at gunpoint this summer was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison in Delta County Circuit Court Thursday.

John Joseph Sarasin, 62, was arrested following a July 9 incident at his home where he prevented his wife from leaving by holding her hostage and threatening to kill her with a loaded pistol.

During a plea hearing in circuit court on Sept. 27, he pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony. He was sentenced to prison Thursday for a minimum of three years and two months to up to 15 years.

Sarasin also pleaded guilty to attempted felonious assault and interfering with electronic communications. He received 11-month sentences on each of these charges Thursday. All three counts are to be served concurrently. He was given credit for 48 days served in the county jail.

According to the victim’s testimony presented in district court this summer, the couple was having marital problems. On the day of the incident, they argued about her leaving him, she said. When she brought her duffle bags downstairs, Sarasin pointed a pistol at her and told her, “I’m going to shoot you,” she testified.

In an attempt to call 9-1-1, her call connected to central dispatch before Sarasin hung the phone up. At one point, he ripped a telephone off the wall.

The Delta County Sheriff’s Department was dispatched to the home at 5:40 p.m. with other police personnel responding. The victim was held hostage for three hours before she escaped at around 8:30 p.m. After a six-hour standoff, a Michigan State Police hostage negotiator talked Sarasin into surrendering.

In addition to his prison sentence, Judge Stephen Davis also ordered Sarasin to pay $734 in fines and costs and $1,607 restitution to assisting police agencies. Additional restitution may be determined. Sarasin cannot have any contact with the victim.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,