Jason Vukovich, a 41-year-old who claims to be an "avenging angel" but is charged with assaulting three registered sex offenders in Anchorage, proposed an unconventional plea deal this month in a letter to Alaska Dispatch News, sent from his state prison cell.
The three-page letter, dated Sept. 16 and signed by Vukovich, said he would plead guilty to the assaults on one condition: that his sentence not be longer than the combined prison terms of his "alleged victims" — all of them listed on Alaska's public sex offender registry for crimes related to children — plus the sentence given to the man who Vukovich says molested him as a child.
In his letter, he was clearly making the point that the people he is accused of attacking were punished too lightly.
He wrote he wanted to share his plea proposal with state authorities.
Assistant District Attorney Patrick McKay, who is prosecuting Vukovich, said Wednesday he would not comment on any plea negotiations that might have taken place.
Explaining his offer, Vukovich said in the letter, "Grown men who suffer physical wounds will heal, children who are maligned physically, spiritually, and emotionally, grow up but never become what they could have been. A molested or beaten child automatically receives a life sentence, there is no release date."
Vukovich currently faces 18 felony charges, including assault, robbery, burglary and theft, all stemming from five days in June. Vukovich said in the letter he wouldn't plead guilty to theft, but appeared to acknowledge the other charges.
Over those five days in June, prosecutors say, Vukovich entered the homes of three men and hit them with a hammer and his fists. He also stole from them, the charges say — a laptop, a truck and other items. He told police he targeted his victims based on their listings on Alaska's public sex-offender registry, according to a bail memorandum signed by McKay.
Wesley Demarest, one of the victims named in McKay's bail memorandum, said in an interview earlier this year that an intruder broke into his Anchorage home in late June, wielding a hammer and calling himself the "avenging angel" for children hurt by abusers. That intruder, McKay's memorandum says, was Vukovich. Demarest was beaten unconscious and said he woke up in a pool of his own blood.
As of Wednesday, Vukovich remained an inmate at the Goose Creek Correctional Center in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, his trial scheduled for November in Anchorage. In his letter, Vukovich said he could not speak to the specific charges against him and he already felt "condemned by the state."
"How can any District Attorney perceive a man's heart if he or she has never spoken to the accused? How does the state determine the intention of a man's heart if they literally never spend even one moment in conversation or the contemplation of his motives or mindset?" the letter said. "The only answer is that I must speak."
The sentences of the people Vukovich is accused of attacking, plus the man who assaulted him as a child, totaled eight years and nine months, he wrote. "I will serve their prison sentences back to back to back."
Vukovich's proposed prison sentence for himself is far less than the maximum he could receive. Just one Class A felony comes with a maximum 20-year sentence and Vukovich faces three, plus more than a dozen other charges.
"I realize no organized modern society can tolerate vigilantism, however, no reasonable court can think that justice is served when someone who allegedly assaulted three convicted child molesters is expected to serve four or five times as long in prison as they did — combined!" the letter said.
The letter was written in neat print on yellow, lined paper. It follows an earlier letter signed by Vukovich and sent to Alaska Dispatch News in July in which he described his molestation as a child.
The last paragraph in the more recent letter says: "Again — State of Alaska — 8 years, 9 mos., I'll sign on the line tomorrow, instant, low cost resolution. Justice? You decide."
Correction: An earlier version of this story, citing court records, said Katherine Hansen was Vukovich's attorney. She is actually a victim's rights attorney and represents the victim in a criminal case in which Vukovich is the defendant.