Wasilla man who fired slingshot at troopers gets 2 years in prison

Zaz Hollander

A Palmer Superior Court judge has handed down a two-year prison sentence for a 42-year-old man who fired a slingshot at Alaska State Troopers during a Wasilla-area standoff.

The trouble began when someone called troopers late one night in mid-January to report multiple gunshots and "victims down" at an address on North Tanana Drive off Bogard Road. The caller did not identify themselves, troopers said at the time. At least seven troopers converged on the house.

Troopers ultimately realized that the only person inside was Jose A. Pacheco, but not before a tense standoff that lasted from after 10 p.m. until 1:30 the next morning, according to a sworn troopers affidavit filed with the original charging documents.

Several hours into the incident, Trooper David Frebel Jr. heard what sounded like gunshots, Frebel wrote in the affidavit. Another trooper traced the shots to a side window.

After several shots, Pacheco broke out a window and "started shooting at troopers with what was originally reported over the radio as a handgun, later determined to be a slingshot," Frebel wrote.

No one was injured, court records show.

Pacheco emerged through the front door after nearly four hours. A pellet rifle and two bows -- at least one of them a Bear Archery compound bow "capable of hunting and killing game animals" -- were also found inside the house, according to the affidavit.

Pacheco pleaded guilty to a single felony count of third-degree assault, according to a May 2 sentencing document filed at the Palmer courthouse. Prosecutors originally charged him with seven separate counts of assault, based on the number of troopers involved.

Troopers learned that Pacheco was the person who made the initial 911 call. He was also charged with second-degree terroristic threatening, based on the false report.

Pacheco is now housed at Goose Creek Correctional Center, where a database this week listed his release date as May 2015, which may reflect time already served or time off for good behavior.

Palmer Superior Court Judge Eric Smith sentenced him to a total prison sentence of five years with three years suspended. If he violates probation, Pacheco could face some or all of the additional time. Smith also sentenced him to three years of probation, with terms including no alcohol or drugs and a required mental health evaluation, according to assistant district attorney Kerry Corliss.

The plea agreement included a tougher sentence than normal because Pacheco's actions jeopardized law enforcement officers, Corliss said. Pacheco's presumptive sentencing range was two to four years.

"The intent was to keep him on supervision longer than the normal presumptive sentencing laws allow us to do so we can monitor his behavior," she said.

Pacheco has several other criminal charges on his record, including driving under the influence convictions in Fairbanks in 2007 and Palmer in 2010 and a fourth-degree assault conviction in Palmer in 2009. In a case later dismissed by prosecutors, he was also initially charged with second-degree robbery after reportedly attempting a holdup at a Parks Highway Chevron station in Wasilla despite being unarmed.

Reach Zaz Hollander at zhollander@adn.com or 257-4317.