What is it with juggalos and violence ….
HAMILTON – A 17-year-old Hamilton teen will spend the rest of his life under the supervision of the state.
Jacob A. Wilson was sentenced Wednesday to a 100-year commitment to the Montana Department of Corrections for his part in a crime spree that included burglary, escape and assaulting a peace officer.
Ravalli County District Judge James Haynes suspended all but five years of the sentence, with the caveat that should the teen choose not to toe the line, he could end up facing a century behind bars.
“Make no mistake, Jacob,” Haynes said at the end of the two-hour long hearing. “I will do that.”
Wilson and Kagen G. Richardson pleaded guilty earlier to beating a detention officer with a wooden cribbage board before escaping from the Ravalli County Juvenile Detention Center last March.
Richardson’s sentencing hearing will begin Thursday morning.
The two teens met in the detention center.
Wilson had been arrested for breaking into a home last winter and stealing handguns, which he later took to a Hamilton school and pointed at two students.
Richardson was there for breaking into a car and stealing a handgun.
The teens asked permission to leave their cell to retrieve a cribbage board. When Detention Officer Jill Meskimen turned her back, Richardson hit her over the head with the 14-inch hardwood board several times.
Her husband, Craig Meskimen, said Wednesday his wife has suffered migraines, memory loss and energy lapses since the attack.
She sometimes sits up in the middle of the night and starts crying and shaking, he said.
“Sometimes she doesn’t even remember she’s done that. … It upsets me to no end that it’s changed her in that way, both mentally and physically,” Meskimen told the judge.
Wilson’s father, Paul Wilson, said his son’s behavior began to change starting in fifth grade.
“He became defiant and less interested in school,” Wilson said. “We noticed that at home, too.”
Things got so bad at one point that the family had to ask the teen to leave their home.
A new medication that dampens impulsive behavior has made a difference over the past few months, Wilson said.
“He’s much more like the Jacob that we knew before he started to change in fifth grade,” he said.
Wilson asked the judge to give his son a chance to turn his life around.
Ravalli County Deputy Attorney Bill Fulbright recommended a 20-year commitment to the Montana State Prison.
“The state is in no way recommending that we throw this young man’s life away,” Fulbright said.
In five years, Fulbright said Wilson would be eligible for parole. In the meantime, Wilson would be in a secure setting where the community is protected.
“The message to the community needs to be loud and clear that it’s absolutely unacceptable, whether you are a juvenile or adult, to assault people in this way,” Fulbright said.
Wilson’s attorney, Nick Miller, urged the judge to consider 15 year DOC commitment with all but five years suspended, with a recommendation that Wilson serve his first year at the juvenile facility at Pine Hills.
Miller pointed to letters of support sent to the court by teachers, family and friends.
“There is something worth salvaging inside of Jacob,” Miller said.
In a letter to the court, Wilson apologized to those he’s hurt, including the detention officer and his family. He said he wanted to become a productive member of society.
Haynes wasn’t so sure.
The judge told Wilson he had concerns over his extensive juvenile criminal history and the fact he was the apparent leader in escape that left the detention officer severely injured.
Considering his youth and unusual religious beliefs, Haynes said he didn’t believe sending Wilson to prison was the best option.
Wilson had explained his religious views were that of a “juggalo,” which is a name given to fans of the hip hop group, Insane Clown Posse. Juggalos sometimes compare themselves to a family.
Haynes said Wilson would likely befriend people of a like mind in prison and that “would absolutely would corrupt you.”
Wilson was sentenced to a total of 100 years for felony counts of conspiracy to assault a police officer, conspiracy to assault with a weapon, aggravated burglary, criminal endangerment, possession of a firearm in a school and assault on a police officer.
“For the rest of your life, you are going to be under someone’s view,” Haynes said.