ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The man accused of attacking gubernatorial candidate Congressman Lee Zeldin at a local VFW in July will be released next week, under strict conditions.
David Jakubonis, a decorated Army veteran who earned a Bronze Star in Iraq, has been in jail since the incident. His defense — led by John DeMarco — helped get Jakubonis into a PTSD and alcohol recovery program with the VA.
This was not a decision taken lightly by the judge. This is the fourth time she has had Jakubonis in court going over the details of his release and the conditions, should he be set free.
She ultimately decided he is not a threat to the public and will let him go under the following conditions:
- Jakubonis will have a 28-day alcohol treatment program at the Bath VA.
- He will wear two monitors — a GPS monitor and a monitor to gauge alcohol intake.
- Provided he finishes the program, there will be a combination of Veterans Treatment Court and living at Richards House — lodging provided by the Veterans Outreach Center.
What happens after all of this is still determined. If he fails, he will face the judge again. However, the judge feels that, despite his falling off the wagon after outpatient alcohol programs, this will be different and Jakubonis will have a chance for success.
“Well we’re certainly pleased that he’s released and he can start on that rehabilitation path — which I think he’s deserving of,” said DeMarco.
Joe Chenelly, the chair of AMVETS who tackled Jakubonis to the ground during the incident, vowed to get Jakubonis help that night. He shared his thoughts.
“I just want to say I’m thankful to these guys for all the hard work they’ve done and countless hours on this, absolutely amazing and I think our community should be very proud of them,” Chenelly said. “The night of the incident I was the first one to talk to him and I made a commitment to him and these guys here are the ones who made this happen.”
Jakubonis will be back in court Monday to go over the details of his release.
Nick Stefanovic with Monroe County Veterans Services told News 8 that Jakubonis still has to face these charges and will have another court date in front of a different judge down the road. The hope is that if the program is successful, Jakubonis can avoid prison time.
Typically, the judge said charges like this could carry up to 10 years in federal prison.