UPDATE: Federal jury finds Jakubowski guilty on all counts

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Frank Schultz
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

MADISONWhy did Joseph Jakubowski do it? That question hovered over his trial Monday and Tuesday. But no one was allowed to discuss it in U.S. District Court.

The man who kept a lid on Jakubowski's political and philosophical motivations was U.S. District Judge William Conley.

After the guilty verdict was read in court Tuesday, Conley told the jury this was an unusual case, in that the defendant has “issues” with the government.

When that happens, Conley said, the court system has to “bend over backwards” to ensure fairness.

Conley later told Jakubowski that he appreciated the respect Jakubowski had shown the jury.

Jakubowski did not stand when Conley was introducing the jury to the defense and prosecution teams Monday. But later in the trial, he stood when the jury entered the courtroom.

Otherwise, Jakubowski sat quietly throughout the trial.

Conley said he hoped Jakubowski believes the jurors made every effort to fulfill their obligation under the law.

The goal was a fair trial, Conley continued, “whether you respect the government or not.”

After setting the sentencing date, Conley descended from the bench and approached Jakubowski, extending his hand. Jakubowski took it and shook.

It was an odd moment for the 33-year-old Janesville man, who on April 4 sent a rambling 161-page document to President Donald Trump, complaining about societal elites, the government and the legal system.

The same day Jakubowski sent his manifesto, he broke into a Janesville gun shop and took 18 firearms and two silencers. Then he disappeared.

Investigators interpreted some of the language in Jakubowski's manifesto as suggesting violent intentions.

Schools closed, and then authorities switched their focus to churches as well as government agencies as possible targets.

Conley did not allow Jakubowski to discuss his motives in the trial, which began Monday morning and ended around 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The jury began deliberating around 9 a.m. Tuesday and signaled around 10:45 a.m. that it had reached a verdict.

According to the manifesto and a note he left at the gun shop, Jakubowski was upset that, because he was a felon, he could not possess firearms. He said he should have the right to protect himself and others, and he argued the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees that right, felon or not.

After the hearing, Jakubowski's attorney said Conley is very interested in hearing Jakubowski's motives.

“At sentencing, the judge will fully listen to all of that,” said federal defender Joseph Bugni.

Sentencing is set for Dec. 20.

“Everybody wants to know what was going through his head. The judge also wants to know, and that's the perfect opportunity for him to allow for that,” Bugni added.

Bugni acknowledged the case was a slam-dunk for the prosecution, and Jakubowski made it even easier for them.

“He confessed on the (witness) stand. I've never seen that happen,” Bugni said. “He fully anticipated the verdict. He showed his commitment to the truth and never harbored a lie.”

Jakubowski wants the opportunity to “deeply apologize” to the owner of the gun shop he burglarized, Bugni added.

The attorneys prosecuting the case would not speak after the trial, but their boss, Jeffrey Anderson, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, spoke to reporters.

Anderson said authorities are still looking for the 13 firearms taken in the burglary but never recovered, including one automatic assault rifle.

The fact that Jakubowski has not been helpful in the search will be part of the calculation of his prison sentence, Anderson said.

Jakubowski faces a maximum 20 years on the two federal convictions, for stealing from a federally licensed firearms dealer and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Anderson said the guidelines would “not necessarily” lead to the maximum sentence.

Anderson said he was “not at liberty to discuss” the missing weapons, but he did say, “We've been looking in a lot of places. We don't entirely believe everything he says.”

Rock County sheriff's investigators have said Jakubowski told them the weapons became so heavy, he dropped them along the way from Janesville to the remote campsite in western Wisconsin where he was arrested April 14.

Anderson praised the federal, state and Rock County law enforcement agencies who worked on the Jakubowski search.

“In more than 35 years, I've never seen better cooperation in law enforcement,” Anderson said.

Jakubowski is expected to be moved from the Dane County Jail to Rock County, where he still faces state charges of burglary while arming himself, felony theft and possession of burglary tools. That trial is scheduled to start Oct. 23.

Last updated: 11:44 am Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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