Flatoff sentenced to 100 years for fatal standoff at Eagle Nation Cycles

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WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A man has been sentenced to 100 years in prison for a hostage situation that resulted in a man's death.

Brian Flatoff appeared in court Wednesday for a sentencing hearing. He had no lawyer to represent him.

"Public safety is at risk when you are free," said Judge John Jorgensen.

In March, a jury found Flatoff guilty of 14 counts for the Dec. 2015 standoff at Eagle Nation Cycles in Neenah.

The charges include Felony Murder for the death of hostage Michael Funk; and two counts of Attempted Homicide for shooting at Neenah Police Officers Craig Hoffer and Jonathan Kuffel.

Flatoff was also convicted of conspiracy to kill his friend Vance Dalton.

Investigators say Flatoff went to Eagle Nation Cycles on Dec. 5, 2015, to kill Dalton. Flatoff had accused Dalton of stealing his motorcycle.

Dalton was not there, but Flatoff, armed with a gun, took three people in the shop hostage. That escalated to a shootout with law enforcement.

Hostage Michael Funk was shot and killed by police after he escaped the cycle shop during the shootout. Prosecutors charged Flatoff with Felony Murder for Funk's death because of the incidents they say he set in motion that day.

In court Wednesday, Judge John Jorgensen sentenced Flatoff to 40 years for one count of Attempted 1st Degree Intentional Homicide; 40 years for another count of Attempted 1st Degree Intentional Homicide; and 20 years for Conspiracy. Those counts must be served consecutively, meaning back-to-back.

All other sentencing orders are concurrent, meaning they'll be served at the same time.

The district attorney's office was pleased with the sentence.

"The goal was to ensure that he never got out of prison and that certainly happened today, so I think it's a proper sentence," said Scott Ceman, Deputy District Attorney.

Flatoff told the court that he plans to appeal his conviction.

Flatoff, who went through a number of attorneys during the lead up to trial, represented himself for much of the trial. On the day prior to the verdict, Flatoff asked for an attorney to represent him. The judge appointed standby counsel Ben Szilagyi to take over for Flatoff. Szilagyi asked for a mistrial but the judge denied the motion.

Last week, Flatoff's court-appointed attorney, Ben Szilagyi withdrew as counsel ahead of sentencing.

Szilagyi's motion to withdraw states that Flatoff accused him of "working for the State."

"Mr. Flatoff also accuses counsel of being part of an organized effort that 'destroyed his file', did nothing but 'put off his trial', and continually attempted to induce Mr. Flatoff to accept a plea agreement," reads the motion.

On May 17, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago will hear oral arguments regarding a lawsuit over the death of Michael Funk. Funk's widow, Theresa, is suing the City of Neenah over her husband's death. The case was dismissed in a district court, but Funk appealed to the federal court, which agreed to hear arguments.

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