Joseph Jakubowski on trial for gun thefts, wishes he had died in shootout

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MADISON — A man accused of stealing an arsenal of firearms from a southern Wisconsin gun shop and sending an anti-government manifesto to President Donald Trump says he wishes that he had died in a gun battle with police.

Joseph Jakubowski said his 10 days on the run last April were the best days of his life. Jakubowski is on trial in federal court in Madison where jurors were selected Monday.

In an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal , Jakubowski said he’s proud that he was able to publicize his anger and frustration toward the government. But, he says, he would rather have died in a gun battle with officers.

“I didn’t go into it planning to die; that would be suicide,” he said. “But on the other hand, I haven’t been afraid of dying for a long time. How can you value life when you’re told what to do for your entire life?”

The 33-year-old self-proclaimed anarchist from Janesville faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted of the two federal charges against him, including stealing firearms and silencers from a federally licensed firearms dealer, and being a felon in possession of those firearms and silencers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Jakubowski had southern Wisconsin on edge after breaking into the Armageddon Gun Shop on the outskirts of Janesville. Authorities learned he had written a rambling 161-page anti-government manifesto and that he had mailed it to the president. They feared Jakubowski would target schools or government buildings, and many schools in the area canceled classes.

Jakubowski said stealing the guns was central to his plan to show how the federal law forbidding felons from owning a gun was proof the government was corrupt. “I have the right to defend myself,” he said.

A Vernon County landowner found Jakubowski camping on his property on April 13. Jakubowski had five guns and a samurai sword with him when he surrendered without incident the following day.

Jakubowski says he can’t remember a time when people didn’t call him crazy or socially awkward. But he says he has never been treated for a mental disorder or taken any medication for one.

“I’ve always prided myself on being different,” he said.