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“He is a coward”: Survivors describe living nightmare as man sentenced to life for Oshkosh shootings

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:19 AM CDT
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WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Monticello man has been sentenced to life in prison without the chance of release for a shooting that killed a man and injured two people in Oshkosh.

Joshua Aide, 40, appeared before a Winnebago County judge Wednesday for a sentencing hearing on a count of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide and two counts of Attempted 1st Degree Intentional Homicide.

Hon. Scott Boldt sentenced Aide to life in prison without the possibility for extended supervision for 1st Degree Intentional Homicide. The judge gave Aide the maximum 40 year prison sentence for each of the attempted homicide charges. The sentences will be served consecutively.

Supporters of the victim and survivors filled the seats behind the prosecution. They wore white shirts reading “Justice for Jim” in honor of victim James Gruettner. Victim impact statements were emotional as family of Gruettner described sleepless nights as result of the crimes committed by Joshua Aide.

James Gruettner’s wife, Julie, says Joshua Aide stole her husband’s life and the family’s sense of normalcy. Julie described James as a caring and loving husband and father of their four children.

“I expected to live the rest of my life with him,” Julie Gruettner said. “On that day, the defendant murdered my husband, shot my daughter and shot John Miller. There is no way anyone can prepare themselves for this. I stand before you a broken person.”

THE CRIME AND THE INVESTIGATION

On Aug. 4, 2020, Joshua Aide went to a home in the 1700 block of Minnesota Street. He shot ex-girlfriend Rebecca Borkowski in the ear. A bullet traveled into the back of her head. She survived.

Aide then turned the gun on Borkowski’s father James Gruettner. The 59-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

Aide shot John Miller in the side of the face. Miller survived.

John Miller told police he was at the home on Minnesota Street to fix Borkowski’s vehicle. As he finished, he saw Joshua Aide and heard “pop” noises.

Miller stated Aide had threatened him earlier in the day by saying “you better not touch the car” and told him not to be at Rebecca’s home. Aide had accused Rebecca of being in a relationship with Miller. Prosecutors say Aide was jealous and controlling and could not accept that Rebecca had ended the relationship with him.

Rebecca Borkowski told officers that Aide had shot her. Rebecca said she had been working on the vehicle with her father and Miller. She co-owned the vehicle with Aide.

Borkowski remembered speaking with Aide on the phone earlier in the evening. They talked about their relationship being “done for good.” She told him that Miller was doing some mechanical work on their vehicle. “The defendant became upset over the fact that someone was going to be working on his vehicle,” reads the criminal complaint.

Aide showed up at the home. He walked toward Rebecca with a small black handgun with a red laser at the end of it, according to the complaint. He pointed the gun at Rebecca’s head. She said, “Joshua, what the f---?!”

Police found a .380 caliber shell casings at the scene. Aide was known to have a .380 handgun.

Aide fled the scene after the shooting. He was located about 11:37 p.m. that night in Green County. He was near his home in Monticello.

In May, a jury found Aide guilty of all three counts.

VICTIM IMPACT AND SENTENCING

Survivor Rebecca Borkowski spoke before the court during the sentencing hearing. She expressed remorse.

“Your honor, I feel embarrassed, disgusted and ashamed. I think I should have died that night instead of my dad,” Borkowski said. “To my entire family, but to especially my mom, I am sorry beyond words.”

Borkowski says she has flashbacks every day.

“It all happened so fast. It brings me anguish and torment every day,” Rebecca Borkowski said.

Rebecca said Joshua Aide was abusive during their relationship.

“He is a coward,” Borkowski said.

In the lead up to the shooting, Joshua Aide had called Rebecca Borkowski 30 times over a 90-minute period.

Prosecutor Amanda Nash says Joshua Aide is a threat to the community. She described him as jealous and abusive who had strangled Rebecca Borkowski and his ex-wife.

Nash says Aide has shown a “complete lack of remorse” and described him as someone who believes he’s not responsible for the crime.

A pre-sentencing hearing found Aide has a need for “power and control.”

Aide’s ex-wife wrote a letter to the court saying she lives in fear. She said Aide has “zero empathy” and is bent on getting revenge against people he believes wronged him.

Defense attorney Scott Ceman claimed pre-sentencing investigation found that Aide should be eligible for extended supervision and the pre-sentencing investigation found he was unlikely to reoffend. He says his defendant has good character and has had no issues while behind bars awaiting trial and sentencing.

He says Aide’s 21-year military career should also make him eligible for extended supervision.

“Josh was exposed to the elements of war,” Ceman said of the Marine veteran. The attorney said Aide was traumatized by violence and death he saw during his service.

The sentence requested by the defense would have allowed Aide to petition for extended supervision when he’s 72.

Joshua Aide spoke briefly, claiming he didn’t go to Oshkosh on Aug. 4, 2020 to harm anyone. Aide claims he acted in self defense.

Judge Woldt questioned the self defense motive, asking why Aide would choose to get drunk and drive two hours back to Monticello after the crime.

Judge Woldt said he believed Aide would seek retribution against the survivors and the prosecutor. He denied the defense’s request to allow Aide to seek release from prison.

Aide will be able to mount an appeal.

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