Joseph Jakubowski appears to ask his attorney, Michael Murphy, to let him speak for himself Jan. 9 at a Rock County Court hearing.

Angela Major


Joseph Jakubowski expressed his anger at society last April when he hand-wrote 161 pages and mailed them to President Donald Trump.

By all appearances, he is still angry—angry enough to ask for his second jury trial while continually saying he committed the crimes he is accused of.

The trial, on charges of burglary while arming himself, theft and possession of burglary tools, starts today. It’s likely to be one of the oddest trials in county history.

“I see no reason to respect or honor a system of tyranny and of terrorism,” Jakubowski wrote to Judge James Daley last November in a 10-page, vulgarity-laced letter from jail.

It appears the Janesville man was talking about the government. He ended the letter with the words “Anarchy” and “Death to the system.”

In the letter, he expresses anger for what he sees as being unjustly accused of domestic violence 10 years ago, and he links that to statements by law enforcement in the current case.

He wrote that he was characterized as “a homeless, drug-crazed maniac who robbed a gun store to shoot up schools.

“This is a (expletive) lie! (Expletive)!,” he continued. “Way worse than just being called a woman beater. Now the public believes I was out to kill kids! ... Wish you corrupt (expletive)s Just die! (Expletive)ing killed me! Killed my name! With lies.”

Authorities did announce that they feared Jakubowski had robbed the gun shop with the intent to attack a school. That came after an acquaintance told police Jakubowski might do that.

Eight days later, after they had read the manifesto, the heads of the Janesville Police Department and Rock County Sheriff’s Office said they didn’t see a strong threat to schools, but they noted Jakubowski expressed anger at government and religion.

Jakubowski admitted in his federal trial last fall that he took 18 firearms from the gun shop.

He then drove to a rural road, set his SUV on fire and disappeared. He was captured 10 days later, after a massive manhunt.

He just wanted to live “off the grid” out west, his attorney in the state case has said.

A federal judge sentenced him to 14 years in prison in Madison on charges of stealing from a federally licensed firearms dealer and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

One of his previous felony convictions was for fighting with a Janesville police officer and pulling repeatedly on the officer’s sidearm in the 2008 incident.

Officer Jimmy Holford III testified at the federal trial that he believed Jakubowski was trying to kill him.

During that trial, Jakubowski’s attorney admitted in his opening statement that Jakubowski committed the burglary and took the guns. Jakubowski later testified that he did it.

As he prepared for his local trial, he suggested more odd behavior. He told Judge Daley that he can speak for himself and doesn’t need his defense attorney, Michael Murphy.

“Jury don’t matter, OK? I’m going to do the same thing in federal trial that I’m going to do on state,” Jakubowski told Daley at a pre-trial hearing.

“That’s the only reason that I want to do a trial, is just to tell the public the truth,” Jakubowski continued. “... I don’t need the government to tell it. I can tell it.”

Jakubowski seems unmoved by additional prison time. The state charges he faces carry a combined maximum prison term of 24½ years in prison.

The trial is scheduled for three days, but court officials have said it might take no more than two.

Several news outlets have been granted permission to have their cameras in court, including TV stations from Madison and Milwaukee.

Another observer, the internet-based Law and Crime Network, plans to live-stream the trial starting with opening statements, which would begin after the jury is selected, possibly sometime this afternoon.

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