J. A. Wicklund

Burnett County— Jacob A. Wicklund remains in custody at the Burnett County jail after being charged with making terroristic threats and disorderly conduct. Wicklund’s bail is set at $5,000.

Deputies arrested Wicklund without incident outside of Grantsburg shortly after 9 a.m. on Tues., May 9 for posting threatening messages in a private Facebook chatroom “Confessions of Mine.” The first post read, “This is the day I’ve decided to become a school shooter.”  

At the preliminary hearing on May 18, two witnesses were questioned: Deputy Steve Sarcharski and Officer Julie Mead, both of the Burnett County Sheriff’s Department. Along with the cross-examination of the witnesses, the main point debated was the intent of the accused.

The State, represented by Burnett County District Attorney Bill Norine, argued that the publication of the post is enough to offer inherent evidence of intent to carry out the threat, or at least cause public panic. He asked for a bind over for the case to continue to trial.

Wicklund’s defense attorney, Nathan Cockerham, requested that the felony charge of making terroristic threats be dismissed. He argued that there was no circumstantial evidence that Wicklund was going to follow through on the threats. Cockerham based his request on the fact that Wicklund himself contacted law enforcement and was not found to be in possession of any firearms upon arrest.

According to state law, a threat to make or cause death, bodily harm, or to damage property does not automatically constitute a “terroristic” threat.

Wisconsin law states that if a threat is made which results in an evacuation of a building, and the perpetrator is aware of that risk, than the threat can be deemed terroristic.

Judge Ken Kutz stated his belief that Wicklund was aware of the threat’s circumstances given the number of people (192) present in the private chatroom at the time of his posting, though he called into question his bipolar diagnosis and past behavioral problems, which could suggest that the post was a misguided way to blow off steam.

Kutz ultimately denied the dropping of the felony charge, citing that odds are high that Wicklund guessed that some member of the online group would communicate the threat to the school, resulting in an evacuation.

The case is now bound for trial. Wicklund’s next appearance is set for 2 p.m. June 14.