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Kimball man found not competent to stand trial


July 12, 2019


Hurley — The Kimball man accused of making threats around the area in a pair of Iron County cases was found not competent to stand trial in an Iron County courtroom Thursday.

Price County Judge Kevin Klein ruled Robert “Barrel Bob” Gollubske, 82, not competent based on a report from the Wisconsin Forensic Unit, suspending the two criminal cases that were the subject of Thursday’s hearing.

“The doctor opines that based upon the current evaluation … the defendant, Robert Gollubske, is presently rendered to lack substantial mental capacity to factually and rationally understand the proceedings or be of assistance in his defense and that he is not competent to proceed,” said Klein, who is presiding over the two cases.

The finding regarding his present competency was unchallenged by both attorneys in the case, as well as Gollubske himself.

“I don’t understand this at all,” Gollubske told the judge at one point, referring to the proceedings against him.

Gollubske is facing two counts of making threats to commit injury and one count of making terroristic threats in one of the cases. In that case, Gollubske is charged with threatening to blow up both the Iron County Courthouse in Hurley in 2013 and the Northwoods Paving (Mathy Construction) asphalt plant in Kimball in 2016. The courthouse threat count was refiled after having been previously dismissed.

In a separate case, Gollubske is charged with making terroristic threats and disorderly conduct. These charges stem from a August 2018 incident at the Marshfield Clinic in Mercer. In this case, Gollubske allegedly said, “I can blow this place up and get away with it,” after getting upset at being denied an appointment, according to a probable cause statement in the case.

During the hearing, Klein touched on several specific findings in the report that illustrated how the examiner reached her conclusion regarding Gollubske’s competency — including memory issues and concerns about possible dementia, his tangential thought processes and confusion over the proceedings.

“The doctor talked with Iron County Jail staff and she received confirmation Mr. Gollubske does not appear to understand anything about the reason he’s being held or how it is related to the court process and there was a previous finding and concerns expressed in the report about dementia,” Klein said. “Mr. Gollubske admits in the report that his short-term memory is poor, that he can not get (the charges against him) visualized in his head. … He was unable to identify the difference between a misdemeanor and felony charge, (and) he was unable to retain information through the end of the interview that the doctor was conducting.

“With regard to some certain questions, he was unable to provide a coherent answer. The one conclusion, or finding, of the doctor is Mr. Gollubske failed to demonstrate a factual and rational understanding of (the topics discussed in the report); particularly due to his tangential thought process.”

With Thursday’s ruling, the two cases are put on hold while a civil proceeding is held to determine the best course of treatment in an attempt to restore Gollubske’s competency. Klein ordered Gollubske reassessed in 3, 6, 9 and 11 months to assess whether his condition has changed.

Although the results aren’t certain, the report indicates the nature of Gollubske’s disorder makes it unlikely he will improve enough for the criminal cases to resume.

“Although it’s possible treatment will slow the progression of Mr. Gollubske’s cognitive decline, the nature of a neurocognitive disorder is progressive. Consequently, it is unlikely he would improve enough to be restored to competency” Klein said, reading from the report.

Gollubske — along with his son, Matthew Allen Gollubske, 38, — is also charged with two counts of being a party to the crime of using explosives to damage property in connection to the 2015 bombing of Mathy Construction’s asphalt plant in Kimball. Gollubske has long complained about the plant and the impact its operations were having on his family and their nearby property. The plant was the subject of Gollubske’s alleged 2016 threat and prosecutors allege the threat to the courthouse came as the result of Gollubske feeling the sheriff’s department failed to act on his complaints about the plant.

Although Thursday’s ruling doesn’t directly impact the bombing case yet, it will likely be brought up in future proceedings.

Iron County District Attorney Matt Tingstad told the Daily Globe Gollubske hasn’t had an attorney appointed in that case yet, and it would be up to that attorney to decide whether to raise the issue of competency.

On Thursday, Klein ordered the civil proceeding to decide how to move forward with the two threat cases and that they be held within a “reasonable” amount of time, but no date was set.


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