Bernard Fish sentenced to 20 to 40 years

L’ANSE — The morning began in Baraga County Circuit Court with an evidentiary hearing about Bernard Fish creating a homemade knife in the Baraga County Jail.

Contrary to what both Prosecuting Attorney Joseph O’Leary and defense counsel Matthew Tingstad believed on Monday, no video of Fish with the knife exists.

But a corrections officer and a Sheriff’s Department deputy testified that a search of Fish’s jail cell turned up a piece of metal at least seven inches long underneath a table. The CO said that Fish told her, unsolicited, that he had it but never wanted to harm anyone with it.

Before Fish was sentenced, one of the victims spoke to the court.

“Even though the video appears with me being a brave person, I still had a gun pointed at me, and later on, it did have effects on me,” Jim Jackson said. “My home was invaded. It was destroyed. My things were taken. I was held hostage for money.”

Fish claimed that the armed robbery in Watton alongside his nephew, Donovan Waupoose, was a hoax. O’Leary said that for sentencing purposes, it didn’t matter if the incident was a hoax or not.

“The jury didn’t buy it,” he said. “I never bought it, either, but frankly, your honor, even if that had been true, I consider Mr. Fish a dangerous man, and he created a highly dangerous situation.”

Bernard Fish himself also addressed the court for more than an hour.

“If the jurors would have seen all the videos, or heard all the taped interviews, and if they could read all the statements and records, I wouldn’t be here now,” Fish said. “…And I thought it was easy. Come up here, do that, go back home, use the money, fix the lake lot up so my grandma could stay out there. She’s gonna die pretty soon.

“I apologize to Donovan, to my mother, to my grandmother, my kids, grandkids, and I apologize to this community, but I ain’t gonna apologize to Mr. Jackson. He’s lying to you.”

Fish will spend 20 to 40 years in prison on concurrent sentences for two counts each of armed robbery, extortion and unlawful imprisonment, and one count of impersonating a police officer to commit a crime. He’s credited with 360 days served.

Waupoose will be sentenced next Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to delivery or manufacture of marijuana, which has a four–year maximum sentence.