In 2014, Jack Woods placed an ad for a housekeeper and Jana Bergman responded.
The two began corresponding and talking on the telephone, and apparently it didn’t bother the 88-year-old Woods that she happened to be an inmate residing in Denver County Jail. In fact, after Bergman professed her love for him, the smitten octogenarian posted her bond and moved her into his home.
Predictably, perhaps, Bergman – a habitual criminal – was arrested again and again over the next ten months, and each time Woods bailed her out.
In the end, he spent a total of $12,000 springing her from jail, even going so far as to put his house up as collateral.
But despite his efforts on her behalf, he apparently failed to win her affection. She would get angry and leave for days at a time, and eventually she became physically abusive.
Bergman was involved in an argument with Woods when she pushed and kicked him down a set of stairs. The old man grabbed onto a railing trying to protect himself, but she pulled at his arms so aggressively that some of his skin was torn off.
Things escalated when he reached the bottom of the stairs. Bergman held him down with her knee, stole his wallet and his keys and left in his car. She had been wearing an ankle monitor but cut that off and left it on a table.
Jana Bergman was arrested and ultimately convicted of attempted manslaughter, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, robbery of an at-risk adult and menacing, among other violence-related charges.
She had four prior felony convictions and five other pending cases. And she was convicted of being a sexual offender. All of those factors led to her being treated by the court as a habitual criminal. Bergman was sentenced to serve 208 years in prison.
But the victim in the case survived her abuse. So why was she sent away for such a long stretch? That was because her five violent crime counts served as sentence enhancers, along with the four previous felony convictions. Even District Attorney Pete Weir admitted that the amount of time she was given was unusual.
“This is an extraordinary sentence, but the brutal assault on Mr. Woods is almost beyond belief,” said Weir, “Over time, Jana Bergman preyed on this fragile, vulnerable man to get what she wanted, and when she was finished with him she threw him down the stairs to get rid of him. Mr. Wood wanted to believe the best about Bergman and continued to try to help her.”