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A judge Tuesday sentenced a La Crosse felon convicted in a drive-by shooting to 7½ years in prison.

Jeremy Rigelsky, 28, will begin serving the sentence in 2025 after he finishes prison terms imposed on prior cases.

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Jeremy Rigelsky

Rigelsky

“The dangerousness of Mr. Rigelsky has not gone down in the last decade,” La Crosse County Circuit Judge Gloria Doyle said. “I see very little chance, at this point in his life, of rehabilitation.”

On Sept. 7, 2016, less than three months after his release from prison, Rigelsky at close range fired three shots into the passenger side of a car while driving south on the 800 block of Copeland Avenue in a stolen car, according to court records. One shot struck a backseat passenger in the thigh.

Days earlier, he threatened to kill a woman at gunpoint after they drove to near the Seventh Street boat landing and confronted three people walking on Mormon Coulee Road, showing a gun tucked in his waistband.

Rigelsky pleaded no contest to two reduced charges of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and being a felon in possession of a firearm as a repeat offender, while 11 other charges — including pointing a firearm at another — were dismissed but considered at sentencing.

Rigelsky served four prison terms in 10 years, including 3½ years for stabbing a fellow Logan High School student seven times with a paring knife in a school stairwell in October 2005.

“He hasn’t really been out of prison for most of his adult life,” assistant district attorney John Kellis said.

At the time of the shooting, Rigelsky was serving five years on probation for stealing drawings and a notepad in 2005 from the French Island home of Philip Schuth. He is serving a four-year prison sentence on that case imposed after his probation was revoked.

Prosecutors argued for a 10-year prison sentence, citing the seriousness of the charges and his criminal history, while his attorney asked for a lesser prison sentence. Defense attorney John Smerlinski said the shooting was in retaliation for a drug debt.

“I don’t believe his intent was to kill anybody,” he said.

Rigelsky, who receives credit for 391 days served, apologized to the victims during his short statement to the court.

“I hope they are recovering,” he said.

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Police and courts reporter

Anne Jungen covers law enforcement and the criminal justice system in La Crosse County. She joined the Tribune reporting staff in December 2005. You can contact her directly at ajungen@lacrossetribune.com or 608-791-8224.

(5) comments

DaisyL

Am shocked the usual LaCrosse comment crew hasn't said the guy must be some of that Chicago or Milwaukee ilk>home grown this time. This guy has been broken for a long time & doubt he can be fixed. Shocked Buena Vista? He's sort of like a walking time bomb ready to explode of which he has done repeatedly on numerous occasions, including in his last incarceration.

canman

7 1/2 years for all he did as a repeat criminal is nothing but a gift with a big bright bow on it. He should have been charged with half a dozen attempted murders, felon in possession of a firearm in federal court for each attempted murder charge, assault and battery, drug charges and others. This is the kind of sentence expected from Ramona.

Buena Vista

Those of you commenting on his 7.5 year sentence and saying it is too lenient....What in the world do you people in LaCrosse County want? I was shocked at the amount of time he was given and feel his sentence is appropriate. - Stop wishing for 25 and 30 year sentences all the time.

union conservative

His wrap sheet is a mile long for how old he is and how much time he has been outside concrete walls. Jeremy will kill before he is dead. Mark my words! RIDICULIOUS SENTENCE AT BEST!!!!

you think you know

This guy is a psychopath, and the rest of his life should be spent in prison. 'he didn't intend to kill anyone". Sure, which is why he's not charged with murder.

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