A Columbia Falls man pleaded guilty Thursday to ransacking a Kalispell health clinic last year.
Zachary Jordan Klundt, 25, also gave a statement from the witness stand explaining what led him to break into All Families Healthcare in March 2014.
“It is true that I am pro-life,” he said, “but that means more than just being opposed to something.”
Klundt’s rampage at the facility caused widespread damage and forced the clinic — which offered abortions as part of its services — to shut down.
Klundt pleaded guilty to felony counts of burglary, criminal mischief and theft in Flathead District Court. As part of a plea deal, a count of attempted burglary and two counts of theft were dismissed.
Klundt and his attorney framed the incident as part of larger personal problems unrelated to his beliefs.
Klundt answered questions posed mostly by his attorney, Peter Leander. Klundt’s appearance was prefaced with acknowledgements that Klundt was there to accept responsibly for the destruction of the clinic and that his bouts with medication and alcoholism were not admissible defenses.
The testimony that followed, however, leaned heavily on those issues. Klundt and his attorney outlined multiple struggles he had leading up to the crime. He mentioned heavy medication for various mental illnesses and a history of alcohol abuse. Klundt indicated that he broke into a string of businesses, including the clinic, in an effort to find drugs.
Going over the timeline of the crime, Leander framed the events amid a fog of substance use. He began with phrases such as “the next thing you remember” before describing a part of the incident.
The testimony was capped by Klundt’s statement.
He said that he has been sober for nearly 13 months and offered apologies to those he affected. He spoke at times directly to Susan Cahill, who owned All Families and went out of business following the vandalism.
After the hearing, Cahill said she was letting
Klundt’s statement settle. She said that it was a move in the right direction but the destruction of her clinic changed her life.
She mentioned not feeling safe in the community at times.
“He really destroyed my livelihood and my future, and he needs to pay restitution for that,” Cahill said.
Based on the account in court records, Klundt broke into the clinic sometime on the night of March 3, 2014. A clinic employee arrived the next morning to find a broken window next to the back door.
The damage to the clinic was massive. Art, furniture and medical supplies were wrecked, as well as the sewer and plumbing systems. Files had been strewn all over and a fire extinguisher had been sprayed throughout the office.
On March 4, police responded to a report of a break-in at Bob’s Bail Bonds and found Klundt there with a loaded handgun. A subsequent search of his home revealed several boxes of medical files and supplies from All Families Healthcare.
With a plea deal in place, Klundt was apologetic on Thursday.
“I am so sorry for the burdens I have brought on you,” he said.
Prosecutors recommended that Klundt spend five years in Montana State Prison for all three crimes. He is scheduled for sentencing on June 11.
Reporter Matt Hudson may be reached at 758-4459 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Cahill sits with her husband and a friend as Zachary Klundt pleads guilty Thursday to vandalizing Cahill's All Families Healthcare clinic in Kalispell. Klundt's rampage in March 2014 put the clinic out of business. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake)