MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Joshua K. Breidel, 34, La Crosse, Wisconsin was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 92 months in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. This prison term will be followed by 36 months of supervised release. Breidel pleaded guilty to this charge on March 1, 2022.
On the early morning of August 4, 2021, Breidel was involved in a domestic disturbance with his girlfriend in La Crosse. She later told La Crosse Police Department (LCPD) officers that during the argument, Breidel pointed a Glock handgun at her, which he had previously stolen from her. The girlfriend fled the house and reported hearing a pop, which she assumed was the defendant firing a round at her. Breidel later admitted to discharging the firearm. Breidel’s girlfriend described her relationship with Breidel as abusive and said he regularly threatened to kill her, her children, and her family.
The next day, LCPD officers arrested Breidel in his mother’s van in La Crosse. Breidel was wearing body armor and had a bullet in his pocket. Officers searched the van and found a Glock 48 handgun with a loaded extended magazine on the floor near where Breidel had been seated as well as two additional loaded magazines in his backpack. Breidel’s DNA was later found on the Glock handgun.
Breidel was prohibited from legally possessing a firearm based on multiple prior felony convictions. At the time of this offense, Breidel was out of custody on state bond for three separate open criminal cases. He was also on state probation for two prior cases, including a prior conviction for possessing a firearm as a previously convicted felon. His state supervision was revoked and he is currently serving a total sentence of 42 months in state prison followed by 42 months of extended supervision. Judge Peterson ordered this federal sentence to run concurrently with the remainder of Breidel’s state prison sentence which has approximately 32 months remaining.
At sentencing, Judge Peterson said that the protection of the public was an important factor in this case and that Breidel was a dangerous character in the community. Judge Peterson highlighted that Breidel was a repeat firearm offender and the case involved the discharge of a firearm, both of which were considered aggravating factors.
The charge against Breidel was the result of an investigation conducted by the La Crosse Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The La Crosse County District Attorney’s Office also provided assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven P. Anderson prosecuted this case.
This case has been brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the U.S. Justice Department’s program to reduce violent crime. The PSN approach involves collaboration by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.