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Wis. Man Who Bought Pistol Used To Shoot Officers May Get 10 Years

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via YellowBrix

January 06, 2010

MILWAUKEE — In a sentence that would be among the toughest handed down, a federal prosecutor is recommending 10 years in prison for the man who bought the gun allegedly used to shoot two Milwaukee police officers last year.

The sentencing Thursday of Jacob Collins could be a bellwether for future cases of straw buyers – people without criminal records who buy guns for felons.

They typically get probation or less than a year in prison because of their clean records and the notion they have not committed a violent crime, according to a review of five years of federal court records.

Collins’ attorney is asking for probation, saying his client had no way of knowing how the gun would be used.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Manning is arguing, however, the Collins case cries out for a heavy sentence from U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman to scare others who are tempted to buy a gun for a felon.

“Unlike the vast majority of sentencings which take place in this courthouse, the people of this city will be paying attention to this,” Manning wrote in a sentencing memo. “The court has an opportunity to send a message that will resonate and deter potential offenders long after the defendant is sentenced.”

Collins, 22, admits he purchased a Taurus .40-caliber pistol at Badger Guns and sold it for $40 to Julius Burton, 19, who was not old enough to buy it from the West Milwaukee store.

Burton is charged with using the weapon to shoot officers Graham Kunisch and Bryan Norberg. Both officers were shot in the head from close range but survived.

At the heart of the vastly different recommendations is the question of whether Collins holds responsibility for what Burton is accused of doing with the gun.

The prosecutor argues Collins had reason to believe Burton would shoot someone with the gun based on what he said before the purchase. He called 10 years a fair sentence for having a hand in attempted murder.

Public defender Daniel Stiller said Collins is developmentally disabled and didn’t understand fully what was happening.

“Jacob Collins told a lie. The telling of a lie was a crime. Jacob Collins should be punished for that illegal lie but only for that illegal lie,” Stiller wrote in his memo.

Police and prosecutors in Milwaukee have hammered for more than a decade on the need to crack down on straw buyers, calling for tougher penalties and more scrutiny by Badger Guns and its predecessor, Badger Outdoors.

Badger Guns and Badger Outdoors were involved in three-quarters of the straw-gun cases prosecuted in eastern Wisconsin in the past five years, according to federal court records.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Bump DetSgt

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    "“Jacob Collins told a lie. The telling of a lie was a crime. Jacob Collins should be punished for that illegal lie but only for that illegal lie,” Stiller wrote in his memo."

    Right there you can see that this attorney needs to spend time in a cell with his client. According to the article, Collins didn't "tell a lie." He sold a gun to someone who could not legally own one. In case the attorney missed it, that's a crime, not a lie.

    (And yes, I'm a jerk, but "developmentally disabled" as an excuse? He was of sound enough mind to buy the gun, he's of sound enough mind to take the hit for what he did. So there.)

  • Tn_max50


    over 4 years ago


    when will they ever learn... MAYBE after longer and definetly HARDER JAIL SENTENCES

  • Blending__can_t_see_me_can_you__sq90_max50


    over 4 years ago


    They should be charged with accessory to murder regardless of record period.

  • Aaa_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Any one that purchases a lethal weapon and gives it to someone that cannot legally buy a weapon should receive a long prison term..

  • Th_untitled_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Well he got 2 yrs, thats a vacation!

  • 1051193310_l_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Federal court under the current President in a vary liberal county, don't hold your breath boys and girls.

  • Crumb_passin_thru_02_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    @Jonas: I could be wrong, but I think that's the prosecutor's call. The judge has some discretion, but ultimately has to consider whether it could be overturned by a higher court--part of the reason there are sentencing guidelines. I'm not saying the guideline is correct in this case, but if there are great enough "extenuating circumstances", then I would think he should've been tried for the offense that matches. Of course, I'm sure it's not even as simple as that--which is why (thankfully) I'm not a lawyer or a judge.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Badger Guns needs to be put out of business. Period. I'm pro-gun and an N.R.A. member, but when a business with this kind of track record doesn't change it's ways, steps need to be taken to protect the protectors !!! Safety first, folks, and don't compromise !!!

  • 131050241_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I love how he had the idea to file off the serial number. If they only knew that doesn't work anymore. Just a little acid and presto. The number is back.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Sounds like conspiracy to commit murder to me! Another freakin LEO hating judge. Remember folks deep down liberals HATE authority!

  • Academy_max50


    over 4 years ago


    now this is a first why not life for being part of the shooting...

  • 1asteriskshield_ezr_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Put the guy in jail, for a long time. The guy didn't know that it was going to be used in this way? BS

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Well said Frank

  • Crumb_passin_thru_02_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Frank: Absolutely. Unless I'm mistaken, this is federal court. Unfortunately, sentencing guidelines for straw buying even at the federal level call for between 10 and 16 months.

    Even more interesting is the gun store's history of selling guns that end up being used against police officers:

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