During the last year and a half, when Jacob was out on bond, I had the privilege to spend some time with him. I got to see him in December of 07 and the beginning of the summer of 08. We went out fishing together and did a lot of reminiscing and reflecting. Jacob worked at the Pizza Hut in town and was spoke of very highly by all the people he worked with. They even had him go down to the Merrill and to the Minocqua Pizza Huts to help out when they were short handed. He demonstrated in the time that he had out on bond what kind of a person he really is, a hard working, caring, and law-abiding person. He is truly and sincerely sorry for every wrong he committed and for all the people he hurt.
When we were fishing, just the two of us, I asked him why. Why would he do all these awful things. Because, I tell you, even after all the horrible things he did, I could not see the Jacob that committed these crimes. He told me that it was all like a bad dream. The first time was just some mischief that got out of hand. And then, he found that he got a rush from the vandalism and the stealing. He felt empowered. It them turned into another, and another. Until it became a sort of disease where he couldn't stop. After all was said and done, he looked back at the carnage that he left behind in disbelief that he could have done such despicable acts.
Jacob knew he had to pay for what he had done, and he never expected to get off scott free. And yes, 14 years is an extremely short amount of time to spend in jail in lieu of what he could have served. But, this man was no longer a threat to society. A driver deciding to get behind the wheel makes a decision. He knows that there is a possibility that someone could die. Being in college and being a sailor, I know a thing or two about the consumption of alcohol. I never get behind the wheel of a car because I know its not worth possibly of killing someone or killing myself when I can gat a cab or phone a friend. I do not consider a person dieing because of a drunk driver as an accident. That's like saying a person who is blindfolded shooting a gun into a crowded room accidentally killed someone. When a drunk gets behind a wheel, it becomes a lethal weapon, no different from that gun.
No Jacob is not a murderer, and I personally don't think he should have gotten 14 years. I might be a little bias, being his best friend, but when a drunk driver gets less time for killing someone, something is wrong.
Jacob will do his time and do everything possible to better himself while serving it. He will try for every program he can to shorten his stay in prison, because he knows he's not the same person he was 2 or 3 years ago. He is the same person that the community knew him to be, back before all the crimes; A Cub Scout, Boy Scout, little league baseball player, football player, MS and HS band member, honor student, manager of a store, and a caring son, brother, and friend.