By Shereen Siewert

A Wausau man facing charges of making terrorist threats against coworkers at a Schofield business is changing his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity, according to online court records.

John M. Erickson, of Wausau. June 26, 2020: Five counts, making terrorist threats

John M. Erickson, 37, faces five charges of making terrorist threats. Prosecutors allege Erickson threatened to cause the death or bodily harm of his victims, causing panic and fear. The charges were filed June 26, 2020 in Marathon County Circuit Court.

Investigators say Erickson threatened five coworkers after an argument over his job performance. Witnesses told police Erickson had made threatening remarks and violent statements in the past, but on June 24, 2020 his remarks escalated and he threatened to “kill everyone at the shop,” according to court documents.

One witness said Erickson bragged about being “ex-military,” and said that “one day he was gonna come into the shop and kill every (expletive) in there.”

The business owner closed the shop for the remainder of the day and the following work day due to Erickson’s homicidal comments, according to the police report.

Erickson was located one day later during a traffic stop and was taken into custody.

During his initial court appearance in June 2020, Marathon County Circuit Judge Mike Moran set a $10,000 signature bond for Erickson, who was subsequently released from jail and was ordered to have no contact with the business. Moran also ordered Erickson not to possess any firearms until the case concludes.

On July 13, 2020 Erickson pleaded not guilty to the charges but was bound over for trial, court records show. Judge Moran authorized a bench warrant for Erickson twice in 2021 when he failed to show up court; both warrants were quashed within days.

The case was headed for trial, but during a jury status hearing Friday, Judge Moran acknowledged a motion to change Erickson’s plea from guilty to NGI. That motion was granted, and Erickson will now submit to an exam before the case moves forward.

Attorneys will participate in a calendar call next month to set a new trial date in the case.