Terrorism on Basswood

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Terrorism on Basswood

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Sun Aug 19, 2007 11:41 am

Six to be charged in BWCA shooting spree
By Scott Stowell, Timber Jay
August 19, 2007

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has apprehended five adults and one juvenile after a series of calls from campers and canoeists who said they were being terrorized by a group of male boaters in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Barney James Lakner, 37, and Jay Andrew Olson, 19, both of Ely, were arrested early on Aug. 8 under probable cause for 2nd degree assault and making terroristic threats. The remaining three adults, who have yet to be identified by law enforcement, and one juvenile will be charged through summons and complaint procedures.

According to Lake County Undersheriff Jerry Norberg, a large number of campers on Basswood Lake called the sheriff’s office in the late evening hours of Aug. 7 to report gunshots and threatening behavior by a group of men. Several reports claimed the group of males in two boats fired gunshots, used abusive language and made threats to harm or even kill others on the lake.

Many of the complainants were traumatized by the incident and, rather than stay at their campsites, they hid in the woods.

Norberg said that the suspects were not camping in the area, but were just wreaking havoc. He said that the suspects appeared to have been using alcohol at the time.

Based on the calls that came in, law enforcement officials from Lake and St. Louis counties, the Ely Police Department, and the U.S. Forest Service, were able to estimate where the suspects would land their boats.

Officers tracked the suspects’ movements by obtaining the locations of callers. Though some complainants weren’t aware of their exact location, law enforcement was able to determine whereabouts by asking campers for the latrine numbers at their campsites.

The progression of calls tracked the movement of the suspects as they passed from Basswood Lake, through Pipestone and Newton lakes, and finally reached the Fall Lake public landing, where law enforcement officials were waiting.

Each boat contained three people. The first group arrived at 12:23 a.m. and law enforcement officials arrested two of the occupants and took two guns into evidence.

The second boat arrived at 1:02 a.m., but no one on that boat was taken into custody at that time.

During the follow-up investigation, Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy James Hoberg returned the next day to take statements from complainants. When he did, other individuals stepped up with additional reports of the men’s threatening behavior. The follow-up interviewing process normally takes 30 minutes, according to Hoberg, but in this case took four hours.

Ely Chamber of Commerce Administrative Director Linda Fryer said the incident has spurred no additional calls that would indicate a negative impact on tourism.

Dan Waters from Canadian Waters Outfitters thinks it might be too early to tell if the incident will cause a drop in clientele. Waters said he hasn’t seen any fallout from the incident, but noted it hasn’t gotten much media attention so far.

Spirit of the Wilderness manager Jenny Nelson said they did not have many customers in the area during the incident and none were directly affected. Nelson said their number one concern is customer safety. The point of a trip is for tourists to relax, not be scared. If firearms are taken into the BWCA, they should be used responsibly, such as for hunting.

The investigation into the incident is on-going. Canadian law enforcement may become involved, but at this point it isn’t known if the suspects crossed into Canada.

http://www.timberjay.com/current.php?article=3607
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Postby PaddlerJimmy » Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:29 am

Charges filed in BWCAW rampage
Steve Kuchera Duluth News Tribune
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A desire to “have some fun” and “stir things up a little bit” has resulted in 79 criminal charges against five Ely men for an August incident in which campers in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness were harassed and terrorized. A petition also was filed against a 16-year-old.

According to the criminal complaints filed Friday by the Lake County attorney’s office, the suspects fired scores of bullets from four weapons, including a high-power, semi-automatic assault-style rifle, set off fireworks and shouted threats and obscenities at campers while traveling around Basswood Lake in two motorized boats on the night of Aug. 7.

One of the suspects told nearby campers “maybe if you make us smores for an hour we won’t [expletive] kill you,” one of the complaints said. The suspects also called out to campers hiding in the woods, threatening to kill one and rape his daughter.


The five men are:

* Zachary Ross Barton, 19, charged with three felony counts of terroristic threats, six felony counts of harassment and one misdemeanor count each of reckless discharge of a firearm and underage consumption.

* Travis John Erzar, 20, charged with three felony counts of terroristic threats, six felony counts of harassment and one misdemeanor count of underage consumption.

* Casey James Fenske, 19, charged with four felony counts of terroristic threats, six felony counts of harassment, one felony count of criminal damage to property, and misdemeanor counts of reckless discharge of a firearm and underage consumption.

* Barney James Lakner, 37, charged with four felony counts of terroristic threats, 11 felony counts of harassment, two felony counts of possession of firearms, two gross misdemeanor counts of theft, and one misdemeanor count each of transporting an uncased firearm, reckless discharge of a firearm and possession and use of fireworks.

* Jay Andrew Olson, 19, charged with four felony counts of terroristic threats, 12 felony counts of harassment, two felony counts of criminal damage to property, two gross misdemeanor counts of theft, one gross misdemeanor count of possession of stolen property, and one misdemeanor count each of reckless discharge of a firearm and underage consumption.

The five were summoned to make their initial appearance in Lake County District Court on Oct. 1.

According to the criminal complaint filed against Lakner:

In his statement to police, Barton said that he and his companions “were just going to go up there and have some fun.” He was in the second boat to enter the BWCAW. His group almost turned back because they couldn’t find the boat with Lakner, Olson and the juvenile in the dark when they saw a burst of fireworks in the distance.

After the two boats met at the area between Jackfish and Pipestone bays, the six fired shots from at least two guns, drank beer and discussed how the suspects in the first boat had gotten into an argument with a camper over the suspects’ behavior.

“Barton stated that individuals in both boats wanted to go back up there and ‘stir things up a little bit’ ” the complaint said.

When the campers heard motorboats returning, they hid in the woods while the suspects yelled obscenities and threats, including the statement that they might spare the campers’ lives if they made s’mores.

Barton told authorities that he and his companions were laughing about the comments and “thought it was cute and funny.”

The deputy who interviewed the family the next day reported that they were “traumatized” and “visibly shaken” by the events of the night before. One “stated that he actually thought, for the first time in his life, he could actually be killed,” the complaint said.

While that encounter was perhaps the worst that happened that night, authorities talked to at least 80 people who at least heard gunfire and fireworks on Aug. 7. One witness said the shooting and yelling lasted for about two hours. One group reported hearing 50 to 60 shots from a semi-automatic firearm. They then heard a motorboat approaching and more gunshots, and at least 20 more as it moved away.

Campers in another group reported that men in one boat shot at a beaver in the water.

“They could see the rounds hitting the water towards their campsite,” the complaint said.

Another camper ordered three children in his group to lie down, because he “believed that one round was aimed in their direction.”

According to the complaint, at one site where seven children were present, the suspects came to shore to swim, refusing to leave when asked numerous times, swearing at the campers and stating that they owned the land.

“No, we came to skinny dip and plan to, you can watch if you want to,” the complaint quoted the suspects as saying.

“Then screaming drunken, broken phrases, two of them took their clothes off and ran around in the water,” the complaint said.

On two occasions, the complaint said, the suspects poured gas on the lake water and set it aflame. They also caused nearly $1,400 in damage to a water gauging station by wrecking its antenna. One boat went into Canada and fired multiple shots. Twenty-one shell casings were recovered in Canada.

Some of the campers were able to call law enforcement officials, and Lake County Sheriff’s deputies and federal agents met the boats when they returned to the Fall Lake Landing.

Items authorities recovered from the suspects’ two boats included a high-powered, semi-automatic assault-style rifle with three 30-round clips, a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, a .22 caliber rifle, a .22 caliber pistol, ammunition, spent shell casings, fireworks residue, beer and items stolen from one campsite.

Kris Reichenbach, spokeswoman of the Superior National Forest that includes the BWCAW, said Monday that a “federal investigation is still ongoing into violations of federal regulations” by the suspects but that no charges have yet been filed in federal court.

Meanwhile, the Ontario Provincial Police also are investigating the incident. It’s unclear whether Canadian charges will be brought for violations of Canadian firearms laws.


STEVE KUCHERA can be reached weekdays at (218) 279-5503 or by e-mail at skuchera@duluth

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Last edited by PaddlerJimmy on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bloomingtonsteve » Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:37 am

Part of their sentences should include working some of the toughest portages in the Bdub and Q.
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Say goodbye to tourism.

Postby Gregor » Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:54 am

Unfortunate for all of those who are making a living on tourism in the region. I was planning a trip with my three kids to go canoeing this summer. I thought we were immune to ---holes in Minnesota. I always carry a firearm into the woods for protection against critters (as unlikely as confrontation is). These guys are lucky that they didn't run into someone with a firearm that would have escalated the situation. How do you tell a father hiding in the woods with his children while men ransack their campsite and threaten to rape is daughter not to protect his kids? Moreover, how soon do you think the kids are going to want to go back into the woods. These guys ruined (possibly forever) these kids ability to feel safe in the woods and enjoy Minnesota's finest assets. Do they even understand the impact of what they have done?

Drunk, not drunk. It doesn't matter. How to you apologize to a girl who is hiding in the woods at night with her father for removing forever her sense of security? How do you erase this memory from the family?

Maximum sentences? Sex offender status? I don't know.

No way to justify that behaviour.

Lucky they fled the site. Lucky no one was killed.
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Postby bwca » Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:09 pm

First two of six plead guilty in a plea bargain. James Fenske of Ely (19) plead guilty for aiding and abetting terroristic threats, criminal damage to property, and reckless charge of a firearm. He admitted to shooting 50 rounds from his handgun, including 20 of which were during a confrontation with campers. He will serve nine months in a minimum security facility, be banned for 3 years from the BWCA, and pay restitution for damaging a federal water level guaging station.

Travis Erzar of Ely (20) plead guilty to aiding and abetting terroristic threats and minor drinking. He will receive no jail time and will have his felony charge dropped to a misdemeanor. He also will be banned for 3 years from the BWCA.

The men agreed to testify against the others.

What are your thoughts on the matter?
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Postby Gregor » Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:06 am

IN all cases they should involve hte loss of a right to possess a firearm for at least 10 years. Period. Any idiot stupid enpugh to behave like this in the wild cannot be trusted. As I said before, dumb kids or not, they are lucky that no one got killed.
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Postby PaddlerJimmy » Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:29 pm

BWCAW suspect pleads guilty to reduced charges
Duluth News Tribune
Published Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Another suspect in last summer's shooting spree on Basswood Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness pleaded guilty today to reduced charges.

Zachary Ross Barton, 19, of Ely, pleaded guilty to one count of felony aiding and abetting terroristic threats and one misdemeanor count each of reckless discharge of a firearm and underage consumption of alcohol.

Barton will serve 20 days in a local jail and three years probation on the felony charge and also will testify against others charged in the case. He’s also been ordered to stay out of the BWCAW for three years,

Barton testified in state district court in Lake County in Two Harbors this morning that he was in a group that took part in the terroristic threats of campers on Basswood Lake on Aug. 7. He conceded to drinking beer and firing his .22 firearm while on Newton Lake but said he did not join others in his group in shooting his gun or verbally threatening campers on Basswood Lake.

Other charges against Barton were dropped in exchange for the plea.

Meanwhile today another suspect in the case, Jay Andrew Olson, 19, of Ely, entered pleas of not guilty to multiple felony and misdemeanor charges in the case. His trial likely would be held within about 90 days, although no date has been set.

Another suspect in the case, Barney James Lakner, 37, of Ely, again postponed his omnibus hearing, this time until Feb. 19.

Two other suspects pleaded guilty earlier this month. Casey James Fenske, 19, of Ely pleaded guilty Jan. 7 to one felony count of aiding and abetting terroristic threats; a gross misdemeanor for criminal damage to property; and a misdemeanor charge of reckless discharge of a firearm.

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/articles/?id=58681
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Postby bwca » Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:37 pm

Barney Lakner, one of the six Ely residents charged with making terroristic threats and firing guns to scare campers in the BWCA, is contesting the charges against him.

He was to have a hearing today, but have now pushed it back again to March 24th to hear his contest.

According to the Duluth NewsTribune, "Lakner could challenge constitutional issues and other evidence against him."
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Postby Celly » Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:46 pm

Seems like they are all getting off pretty easy so far. To put it into perspective, if I went a park in Minneapolis and got mad at a couple families having a picnic there.... started threatening them, driving around their picnic area on a motorcycle... yelling, and firing over 50 rounds from my gun .... would I get less than a year in the workhouse?
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Postby pierre » Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:46 am

bwca wrote:Barney Lakner, one of the six Ely residents charged with making terroristic threats and firing guns to scare campers in the BWCA, is contesting the charges against him.

He was to have a hearing today, but have now pushed it back again to March 24th to hear his contest.

According to the Duluth NewsTribune, "Lakner could challenge constitutional issues and other evidence against him."


Lakner is an idiot. He's been a problem for a long time.
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Postby bwca » Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:02 pm

Barney Lakner's hearing was postponed to February 19th, then again to March 24th. According to KBJR news out of Duluth, it has again been postponed to April 11th.

The other suspects involved in the 79 separate charges of terroristic threats, also are postponed to May 5th and 13th.
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Postby bwca » Thu May 08, 2008 7:17 am

Updated at: 05/05/2008 10:54:42 PM
By: Charlie Deville, WDIO

Ely Men Sentenced in BWCA Incident

Three Ely men were sentenced today for their involvment in an inccident that terrorized campers in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area last summer.
Zachary Barton and Casey Fenske, both 19 and 20-year old Travis Erzar were sentenced in Lake County court. Barton will serve 200 days in jail for reckless discharge of a firearm. Fenske will serve nine months in jail for reckless discharge of a fire arm and for damaging a federal gaging station. He will also pay $2400 in restitution. In addition, all three were given three-years probation for aiding-and-abetting and terroristic threats.

There are two other defendants in the case. 19-year old Jay Olson of Ely, has pleaded not guilty. 37-year-old Barney Lakner, has not entered a plea and will appear in court next month.
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Postby PaddlerJimmy » Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:40 am

From Star Tribune:

Drunken spree of BWCA terror draws tears, fourth guilty plea
By LARRY OAKES, Star Tribune

June 2, 2008

TWO HARBORS, MINN. -- Facing a possible prison term for terrorizing as many as 80 campers last August in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a 20-year-old Ely man tearfully admitted his guilt in court Monday, saying the drunken shooting spree he and five friends went on was "stupid, ignorant and thoughtless."

"It was the worst night of my life, and I can't take it back," said Jay Andrew Olson, who drove one of the two motorboats from which the group shot off guns and fireworks and yelled profanity at campers from Basswood Lake on the night of Aug. 7.

"I scared a lot of people, and I may have ruined the rest of my life," continued Olson, a student at Bemidji State University. His parents, Don and Nancy Olson, watched from a Lake County courtroom bench, his mother dabbing her eyes.

Olson became the fourth of the six defendants to accept a plea bargain, but unlike the first three, he could go to prison for a minimum three-year term.

Olson's attorney, David Keegan, said in court that at Olson's sentencing, scheduled for July 7, he'll ask District Judge Kenneth Sandvik to give probation, with any jail time served locally.

County Attorney Russ Conrow said he'll ask the judge to stick to the prison sentence recommended by state guidelines. Conrow has said he considers Olson, organizer of the outing, to be one of those most responsible out of the six accused.

Conrow said he'll also ask for a harsh sentence for Barney James Lakner, who at 37 (he's now 38) was the oldest member of the group and who brought along the fireworks, an assault rifle and a pistol. Lakner is scheduled to appear June 16 for a pretrial hearing. If no plea deal is reached, his trial will probably be in September, Conrow said.

The rampage attracted widespread attention because of evidence that it was fueled by lingering resentment in Ely of the environmental activism that led to creation of the BWCA.

As they drank beer and fired guns, the five men and a 16-year-old boy, all from Ely, yelled "get the [expletive] off our [expletive] property,'' and "go home, tree huggers," witnesses reported.

Members of one family told authorities they hid in the woods while the intruders tramped through their campsite, threatening to kill the father and rape his daughter.

Olson pleaded guilty Monday to felony charges of aiding terroristic threats and aiding harassment with a firearm. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding criminal damage to property -- gross misdemeanors stemming from vandalism to a federal water-flow "gauging station."

Finally, he pleaded guilty to reckless discharge of a firearm -- a misdemeanor -- and misdemeanor possession of stolen property, stemming from the theft of some campers' fishing equipment, car keys and other gear.

In exchange for Olson's plea, 16 other charges were dismissed.

Lakner and Olson had previous run-ins with authorities over illegal motor use in the BWCA. In 2004, Lakner paid a $275 fine for driving a snowmobile in the wilderness area, and Olson and another defendant in the shooting spree, Casey Fenske, 19, paid $225 fines for driving ATVs in the BWCA in May.

In January, Fenske admitted firing his pistol 40 to 50 times into the water and damaging the door of the gauging station. Sandvik sentenced him last month to serve nine months at the Northeast Regional Corrections Center and to pay restitution.

Zachary Barton, 20, who also fired a gun that night, was sentenced to 20 days in the Lake County jail.

Travis Erzar, 20, deemed one of the least involved, got no jail time, but like the others agreed to stay out of the BWCA during the three years each will be on probation and to pay restitution.

The case against the juvenile, now 17, is pending.

Conrow said his office gave the victims advance notice of each of the plea bargains.

Larry Oakes • 1-218-727-7344

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BWCA terror defendant changes plea

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:20 am

From TimberJay 6/7/08:

BWCA terror defendant changes plea
By Scott Stowell

One of the men who had originally pled not guilty to charges of terrorizing campers in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area last August has reached a plea agreement with the Lake County Attorney’s office.
Jay Olson, 20, entered not guilty pleas in January, but according to Lake County Attorney Russ Conrow, pled guilty to several charges at a pre-trial hearing last Monday.

As part of his plea agreement, Olson will receive amended counts of felony for terroristic threats and harassment with a firearm. He will also be charged with criminal damage to property for two occurrences of destruction to a federal water gauging station in the BWCA. One of the instances occurred in July prior to the August terrorizing incident. In addition, he must make restitution for all damages.

Other counts in the plea agreement include reckless discharge of a firearm and possession of stolen property for fishing equipment he took from a campsite.

Olson will be required to provide truthful testimony against the other defendants in state and federal court. He is also banned from entering the Boundary Waters for the term of his sentence which may include confinement, parole or conditional release after confinement.

Prosecuting attorney Conrow said he will seek a three-year minimum mandatory confinement with the Department of Corrections.

Olson’s attorney David Keegan said he will ask the judge for a probationary sentence similar to what the other defendants were guaranteed by the state attorney’s office.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 7 at Lake County District Court in Two Harbors before Judge Kenneth Sandvik.

Three other defendants in the incident, Travis Erzar, Casey Fenske and Zachary Barton, have already reached plea agreements and been sentenced.

A final adult defendant, Barney Lakner, 38, was to have had his pre-trial hearing last Monday, but it was extended until June 16. Conrow said Lakner’s trial date could be scheduled for the end of September at the earliest if the case goes to trial.

A sixth defendant will appear in juvenile court.
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shooting spree at Basswood lake

Postby Stockcarver » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:18 am

It really hits home when you realize this is where my wife and I were just two years ago. I have been into the BWCA many times in my life and have never felt threatened there but now, it makes you realize that you are not safe anywhere. I will not curtail any future plans to visit the BWCA or anywhere else but I will have the means to defend my life and that of anyone else with me.

I do not believe these creeps received sufficient punishment.
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Postby PaddlerJimmy » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:50 pm

Fifth man in BWCAW shooting spree pleads guilty
Duluth News Tribune
Published Tuesday, July 15, 2008


The last of five Ely adults charged in last summer’s Basswood Lake shooting spree pleaded guilty this afternoon in Lake County District Court.

Barney James Lakner, 37, avoided a trial by pleading to reduced charges on five different counts.

Lakner pleaded guilty to felony aiding and abetting terroristic threats, felony aiding and abetting harassment with a firearm, felony aiding and abetting assault with a firearm by a minor, misdemeanor aiding and abetting theft, and misdemeanor reckless discharge of a firearm.

Judge Kenneth Sandvik accepted the plea. State statutes call for a mandatory minimum sentence of at least three years in a state prison for the felony firearms charge, although exceptions can be made.

Lakner’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 11.

The plea bargain stems from a night of drinking, boating, shooting and fireworks on Basswood Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
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Postby bwca » Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:35 am

According to Channel 6 (Duluth) Jay Andrew Olson was sentenced to 3 years at Lino Lakes or St Cloud.
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Postby PaddlerJimmy » Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:43 am

Two Ely men get 3 years in prison for BWCA terror
By LARRY OAKES, Star Tribune

August 11, 2008

TWO HARBORS, MINN. - Concluding that two Ely men who terrorized wilderness campers caused "horrible events that went on for hours" a judge rejected pleas from their families for leniency Monday and sentenced each to three years in prison.

"You brought high-powered guns on an outing -- I have trouble visualizing it as a boat ride," District Judge Kenneth Sandvik told Barney James Lakner, 38, as he ordered the prison term and banned Lakner from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) for five years.

Sandvik issued an identical sentence to Jay Andrew Olson, 20, in connection with the nighttime shooting rampage on Aug. 7, 2007, in which the pair and four friends entered the BWCA illegally in motorboats, shot guns and fireworks and terrified as many as 80 campers in the Basswood Lake area.

Given the chance to address the court, Jim Sanders, supervisor of the Superior National Forest, which manages the BWCA, said the "heinous acts of violence" hurt the wilderness area's reputation among its 200,000 annual visitors and "will be part of the Boundary Waters timeline forever."

The case drew widespread attention because of evidence that it was fueled by lingering resentment in Ely of the environmental activism that led to the creation of the BWCA.

Sanders asked Sandvik to ban the pair from the BWCA for life. But Sandvik said five years appeared to be the maximum time the law would give him authority over the defendants.

Sandvik also heard from a family that endured the threats. "I wonder when I'll ever feel comfortable in my own skin again," Marina Koller, 27, told Sandvik.

Koller, a teacher, described how she, her 64-year-old father and 11-year-old brother had to run into the woods and hide as the gun-toting men entered their campsite, swearing loudly, telling them to "get off our land" and making fun of their "freeze-dried food."

Then, she said, they crudely described how they would rape all three of them and kill her father, Emmerich Koller, with whom she traveled from Illinois for Monday's court hearing.

The sentences given to Lakner and Olson were the longest issued so far to any of the defendants -- five adults and a 16-year-old -- who came to be called the "Ely Six."

The adults all entered into plea bargains, each tailored to what Lake County Attorney Russ Conrow called their varying degrees of involvement.

Only the case involving the teenager, now 17, remains unresolved, with a pretrial hearing set for Sept. 8.

Conrow said Lakner deserved the prison term recommended by sentencing guidelines for his crimes because he was old enough to be a father to the others and had a responsibility to prevent or stop the melee. He noted that Lakner brought the two most deadly guns -- an AK-47 assault rifle and a Glock semi-automatic pistol -- as well as some of the beer the group drank that night.

He said Olson deserved prison because he called the others and organized the outing and participated more than some of the others.

Both Lakner and Olson apologized and asked for leniency. Olson said he wanted to go to college in the fall, and Lakner's mother begged the judge not to take him and his income as a delivery truck driver away from his wife and two sons.

Sandvik told the courtroom that while both men clearly had supportive family and friends -- something that might make them amenable to probation -- the nature of their crimes wouldn't allow him to depart from the sentencing guidelines, despite the better deals given to their co-defendants.

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Re: Terrorism on Basswood

Postby MiGo2033 » Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:56 pm

The latest issue of Paddler magazine recounts the events of that terrible night. I'm glad the judge did not relieve the more responsible ones of the minimum incarceration. Still, the sentences seem insufficient in light of the damage done
a) to the lost sense of future security of even one canoist, let alone so many, including teachers with lots of experience with young people;
b) the lingering sense that there is some resentment in the community toward paddlers and campers;
c) the understandable increase in weapons which will be carried into the BWCA, just for self defense against any future encounters, albeit remote;
d) the decline in visits from people like myself. I have two daughters and a wife who often accompany me on canoe trips. There is no way I will be able to convince them to go to this beautiful area I have previously heard so much about in glowing terms;

The events of that night bring many questions to mind. What would I have done? What if I had brought along my recurve bows and arrows? Would I have felt obligated to stop the three intruders before they attacked? They should be grateful they are still alive. Thanks to the levelheadedness of the schoolteacher no one was physically injured, although emotional open sores will continue.

If they are truly repentant, may I suggest they voluntarily commit to not entering the BWCA or Q for as long as their victims agree. Ask the victims. Let the victims choose. Then maybe some of us might get a sense of the offenders' repentance.

MiGo2033 Oct 27, 2008
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Re: Terrorism on Basswood

Postby ely6friend » Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:41 am

most of you people commenting on this dont even know the kids involved. i personally played hockey with 4 of the 6, this was a one time thing gone wrong, i give no justification to what they've done and i would feel the same way if i didnt know these peoples real personality, the 5 kids i know completely caught me off guard when i heard of this, they truly are all very nice people. judging by their actions none of you who posted your own comments will ever see, this was a bad, unfortunate event that i wish never happened, peoples lives have just been ruined by this and i find it said, i do show pity for them since i actually know these people. and i give my condolences for the families involved in this too. i'm just putting a more positive outlook on these people, they honestly arent bad people at all.
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Re: Terrorism on Basswood

Postby Dooger » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:49 am

I work in a prison and let me just say these guys got off real easy.

Number Two, I am planning my first trip to the BWCA this spring with my girlfriend. I will not tell her about this incident for the simple fact that she'll want to shy away from the area, but, I will gaurantee that I will be carrying protection as will she, just like any other time we head out of the house.
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Re: Terrorism on Basswood

Postby bwca » Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:04 am

I've been going to the BWCA for nearly 40 years and have never had a problem with people or wildlife.
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Re: Terrorism on Basswood

Postby Jackfish » Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:00 pm

Dooger, it's a free country. Since you'll be traveling in the BWCAW with your girlfriend and feel you must carry protection, you're certainly entitled to carry condoms. Carrying anything else is unnecessary.
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Re: Terrorism on Basswood

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Sun May 03, 2009 1:07 am

BWCA defendant gets six months
By Scott Stowell, Timber Jay, 5/1/2009

The last of six Ely men charged with terrorizing campers in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area during the summer of 2007 was sentenced on April 23 in State District Court in Virginia before Judge Gary Pagliaccetti.
Matt Urbas, now 18, was a juvenile at the time of the incident. He was placed on supervised probation until he’s 21-years-old. He will also enter and complete a six-month program at the Arrowhead Juvenile Correction facility in Duluth. While there, he will be required to participate in all program curriculum and counseling.

In addition to serving time, Urbas must give written apologies to victims, pay restitution as determined by probation and provide 240 hours of community service work that will specifically benefit Ely.

Other provisions of his sentencing include being barred from contact with co-defendants in the case, banned from entry into the BWCA and from owning or possessing firearms until his probation expires.

In January, Urbas admitted to his role in the incident and was charged with aiding and abetting terroristic threats; one count of aiding and abetting harassment with a firearm; one count of aiding and abetting criminal damage to property in the first degree, which is a felony; a minor in possession of a firearm, also a felony; aiding and abetting theft, a gross misdemeanor; and reckless discharge of a firearm, a misdemeanor.

Five other men have already been sentenced.

Last August, Barney Lakner and Jay Olson received the mandatory minimum sentences of 36 months in prison and were banned from entering the BWCA for five years.

Sentencing took place in May 2008 for Travis Erzar, Casey Fenske and Zachary Barton. They all pled guilty to one count of making terroristic threats and underage drinking. In addition, Fenske and Barton pled guilty to reckless discharge of a firearm.

They were all are banned from the BWCA for three years and are not allowed to associate with each other. If they abide by their plea agreements, the felony charges against them will be reduced to a misdemeanor when their probation is over. Part of the agreement stipulates that they don’t incur the same or similar offenses in the future.
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Re: Terrorism on Basswood

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:19 am

Ringleader of group that terrorized Boundary Waters campers in 2007 arrested again
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune, 1/17/14

The ringleader of a drunken, gun-shooting, fireworks-lighting trip on Basswood Lake in 2007 has been arrested again, this time accused of leading officers on a high speed chase within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Barney Lakner, 46, of Ely has been charged with a felony and six misdemeanors following his arrest on Jan. 11 while snowmobiling in the BWCAW, where snowmobiles are banned by federal law.

Lakner was arrested with Edward Zupancich, 26, of Babbitt. Both face possible felony charges for fleeing an officer on a motor vehicle as well as misdemeanor charges for possessing cans and a mechanical device in the wilderness, as well as littering, failure to display registration, and operating a snowmobile in a careless manner.

Both were formally charged Wednesday in State District Court in Two Harbors. Lakner is still being held in the Lake County Jail. Zupancich is out on $10,000 bail. Zupancich’s is scheduled to next appear in court on Feb. 4.

According to the criminal complaint, three Minnesota state conservation officers were involved in the case, ironically also on Basswood Lake where the 2007 incident occurred.

At one point Lakner’s snowmobile apparently rammed on the officers’ snowmobiles. The officers said they were traveling as fast as 80 mph during the pursuit.

It’s at least the second time Lakner has been arrested for snowmobiling in the federal wilderness. He was arrested with four other men on Crooked Lake in 2004.

Lakner was the leader of a group of six males — five adults and one juvenile — who motor boated illegally into Basswood Lake in the BWCAW on Aug. 7, 2007, where they drank beer, fired semi-automatic firearms randomly into the night, terrorized campers and fired large, professional-size fireworks, as well as damaged a federal water level gauging station. They also threatened to rape and torture campers on the lake, some of whom said later that they feared for their lives.

Marina Koller of suburban Chicago said she had to seek counseling after that night when the three campers in her group ran from their tent in the dark and hid deep in the woods praying the men would not find them.

The men yelled obscenities, fired their guns and even entered their campsite and rummaged through their tent, Koller noted in 2008 court testimony in Two Harbors.

“They talked about killing my father and sodomizing him and my brother,” Koller said at the time. “I thought I was going to die out there. I'm still haunted by it... I want the nightmares to go away.'

In July, 2008, Lakner avoided a trial on 22 felony and misdemeanor counts related to the terror incident by pleading to five charges, including three felonies. He was sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of three years in a state prison.

The case drew national attention as an example of the anti-government foment still harbored by some Ely-area residents after federal wilderness regulations were tightened in 1978. Many Ely-area residents condemned the 2007 incident and said they hoped the guilty pleas and sentences given to all six participants would be the end to such illegal behavior.
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Re: Terrorism on Basswood

Postby Koda » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:42 pm

I was on Basswood in 2011 and took a picture of bullet holes in the wall of the gauging station. Now I understand what that was about. Two of the same people were in the snowmobile incident.

dbirren.jpg
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Tagsterrorism, basswood, basswood lake, bwca, boundary waters, snowmobiling

Re: Terrorism on Basswood

Postby finnbay » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:41 pm

Actually, only one was involved in the original incident.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

http://www.snottymoose.com
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Re: Terrorism on Basswood

Postby MnonoaN » Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:54 pm

group of male boaters in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
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Re: Terrorism on Basswood

Postby owlsarepretty019 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:30 am

I'm new and I'm interested in this topic. Thank you!
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