Alaska News

Man faces first-degree assault charge in lottery winner attack

The man accused of attacking the $500,000 lottery winner spotted his target downtown and called an acquaintance to announce his plans before taking a tire iron to the man's head, according to charges filed Wednesday.

The charges bumped up a notch the original allegations against Brandon J. Hughes, 20, to assault in the first degree, the most severe under state statutes. Hughes, who is from Los Angeles and had been in Anchorage only a short time, is also charged with tampering with evidence, and at a hearing Wednesday afternoon Judge Alex Swiderski upped his bail to $150,000 cash.

Hughes is accused of attacking Alec Ahsoak, 53, near the 5th Avenue Mall on Tuesday afternoon after first asking him if he was the winner of the half-million-dollar lottery, conducted by Lucky Times Pull Tabs to benefit the nonprofit Standing Together Against Rape.

"I don't know exactly what the motive is," police Lt. Dave Parker said. "He did not explain his motive."

According to an affidavit filed in court, Hughes called an acquaintance shortly before the attack to say he had seen Ahsoak, a repeat sex offender, and was going to "beat his (expletive)." The acquaintance told Hughes not to do anything stupid, charges say, but Hughes shortly called the man back to report that he "beat the (expletive) out of him and he didn't know how badly he was beaten," according to the affidavit.

Ahsoak told police he was leaving a bank on 5th Avenue on Tuesday afternoon when a man asked if he "was the winner of the half-million lottery?" Ahsoak said he was, and the assailant began attacking him, charges say.

Ahsoak ran across D Street but his attacker followed him, catching him near the entrance of Phyllis' Cafe, holding him against the wall with one hand and hitting Ahsoak in the head repeatedly with the tire iron, according to the affidavit.


The suspect ran off with the tire iron in hand when a witness showed to break up the attack, charges say. Ahsoak was treated at a hospital and released Tuesday night, police said.

Police arrested Hughes at a Tesoro gas station at Arctic Boulevard and International Airport Road on Tuesday evening after the man he called about the beating reported him and his location. Though he didn't have the tire iron, Hughes matched the description given by witnesses and Ahsoak identified him, charges say.

In addition to the current case, Hughes is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail on California charges of violating felony probation and possessing a dangerous instrument. At the hearing Wednesday, Alaska State Troopers Sgt. Henry Kozloff told the judge California officials planned to extradite Hughes when the case against him here is finished.

Find James Halpin online at or call him at 257-4589.