The Janesville man who was the subject of a nationwide manhunt last spring after he stole guns and wrote an anti-government manifesto cursed a judge Wednesday and told him to “Give me freedom or give me death” before the judge instead gave him a 14-year sentence in the federal prison system.
Joseph Jakubowski, 33, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Conley at the federal courthouse in Madison for stealing 18 firearms and two silencers from a Janesville gun shop and illegally possessing guns because he is a felon.
He was convicted of the charges after a trial in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Wisconsin in September.
Jakubowski spent much of the sentencing hearing Wednesday afternoon espousing his anti-government views, ending with a 10-minute, profanity-laced rant directed at Conley just before he was sentenced.
“I don’t care about your damned laws,” he said.
During his trial, Jakubowski admitted on the witness stand that he stole the guns from Armageddon Supplies in Janesville in April. After he stole the guns, police say he burned his vehicle, sent a long anti-government manifesto to President Donald Trump and then disappeared for 10 days. Fears about his intentions prompted some Janesville-area schools and churches to close — and even threatened to cancel the annual Easter egg hunt at the Governor’s Mansion — until he was captured without incident on private land in Vernon County on April 14.
Just four of the guns were recovered at his campsite.
Since his capture, Jakubowski has been defiant when asked by police about the location of the 14 stolen guns, including one machine gun, that are still missing. He told Conley at his hearing, “As far as the guns, you ain’t getting them.”
Conley sentenced Jakubowski to 10 years in federal prison for stealing the guns and four years in prison for possessing them as a felon. He ordered the sentences to run consecutively and recommended that Jakubowski receive anger management treatment, mental health counseling and pre-release placement in a residential re-entry center with work-release privileges. He also said that if Jakubowski is found guilty of state charges during a separate trial scheduled next year in Rock County, the state can decide if the sentence should run consecutively or concurrently to the federal sentence.
Jakubowski also was ordered by Conley to pay nearly $15,000 in restitution to Armageddon Supplies for the stolen guns. That followed a discussion that began with Conley broaching the subject of restitution, to which Jakubowski angrily responded, “I don’t care about the money.”
After Jakubowski is released from federal prison, Conley ordered him to spend six years of supervised release. Conley said he hoped Jakubowski will use his time in prison to grow as an individual and to learn — especially about subjects like truth and government — so that his education “will be a value to him and society.”
Prosecutors wanted a stiffer sentence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rita M. Rumbelow referred to recent statements by Jakubowski in media reports that he’d commit the same crimes as proof that “a lengthy sentence is needed because society needs to be protected.”
Jakubowski’s attorney, Joe Bugni, said that wasn’t necessary because Jakubowski is more talk than action. But Conley said he worried that might change.
Throughout the hearing, the judge often appeared sympathetic toward Jakubowski. He gave Jakubowski a great deal of latitude to express his opinions about the government and the flaws of a money-focused society, and sometimes agreed with his points. But when Conley queried Jakubowski about whether he understood the seriousness of his threats and comments, Jakubowski almost always responded with outbursts of anger.
Conley accepted Jakubowski’s explanation that he was not planning to attack schools or churches after he stole the guns. But he told Jakubowski law enforcement officials were rightfully concerned by assertions in his manifesto that “I’ll fight to the death.”
Jakubowski responded with a tirade against the media, which he accused of reporting on his psychological problems — then read off a list of conditions from a pre-sentence investigation that included schizoid paranoia, narcissism, anti-social traits and alcoholism.
Scott Blader, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, said the way Jakubowski responded to Conley “was a reaffirmation of Mr. Jakubowski’s inability to try to understand what he actually did (last April).
“He’s unrepentant and unremorseful, and I think that was reflected here in the sentence today.”