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Joseph Jakubowski refuses to be sworn in to testify at own trial

Convicted gun thief was in state court Monday.
Posted at 11:55 AM, Jan 29, 2018

ROCK COUNTY, Wis. -- After originally planning to testify in his own defense, 33-year old Joseph Jakubowski refused to be sworn in Monday as a witness and the defense in his trial rested. 

Jakubowski is accused of stealing more than a dozen guns from a Janesville firearm store last spring. 

"I will give (jurors) the truth but I will not raise my right hand," Jakubowski said from the witness stand. 

"Then you will not testify," the judge replied. 

Jakubowski's attorney walked up to the witness stand and whispered something in his ear. 

But whatever was said did not change the defendant's mind. 

"So he elects not to testify?" Judge James Daley asked. 

"He does," replied Jakubowski's attorney. 

Jakubowski is accused of taking 18 firearms from a Janesville gun store last spring. 

Following the alleged burglary, Jakubowski led authorities on a 10-day manhunt that ended when he was found camping on private land in Vernon County

Investigators said Jakubowski also sent a 161-page manifesto detailing anti-government sentiments to the White House

Attorneys Monday morning questioned potential jurors and opening arguments from the prosecution and defense followed. 

Prosecutor Richard Sullivan told jurors that Jakubowski previously admitted to the burglary. He also said Jakubowski left DNA evidence at the gun store. 

Jakubowski's attorney, Michael Murphy, followed with an opening statement in which he didn't deny that his client committed the crime. 

But he said the media had blown the offenses out of proportion. 

"What this boils down to is a run-of-the-mill business burglary and theft," Murphy said. 

Jakubowski is facing three felony charges in connection with the gun store burglary and could be sentenced to more than 20 years in prison if found guilty.

Following opening arguments, the jurors watched startling surveillance video. 

Rock County Sheriff's Detective Ronald Betley, a witness for the prosecution, said the video showed Jakubowski smashing the front door of the gun store with a hammer. 

The man in the video can then be seen kicking the front door and diving into the store. 

Betley said the man in the video, believed to be Jakubowski, ripped several long guns off of a wall and cleared out handguns from a glass case. 

Prosecutors claimed he also made off with ammunition and magazines. 

When Jakubowski was captured five days later, Betley said the serial numbers of several weapons in his possession matched those of the guns stolen in Rock County. 

"We had a lengthy interview with Mr. Jakubowski," Betley said. "He freely admitted that he was the one that broke into the gun store and stole the firearms." 

Some of the firearms taken are still missing. 

Late last year, Jakubowski was found guilty in federal court and sentenced to 14 years in prison for stealing firearms and silencers from a federally-licensed dealer and being a felon in possession of firearms and silencers. 

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