A man from Anchorage, Alaska who termed himself an ‘avenging angel seeking justice’ was sentenced last week to 23 years in federal prison for assault and robbery charges.
Local media reported the 42 year old man, Jason Vukovich, was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to one assault charge and one robbery charge. Vukovich assaulted three men he located on Alaska’s online sex offender registry in June 2016.
He stated in court he endured sexual and physical abuse by his stepfather as a child. Vukovich and his older brother ran away when they were teenagers to escape their stepfather’s abuse. Vukovich also stated he struggled with drug addiction and was in and out of jail for years. He will be eligible for parole after six years in prison.
Says It Wasn’t Worth It
Vukovich said during the trial that his experience will hopefully be a deterrent to anyone who thinks of committing vigilante justice. He agreed to plead guilty to the attempted assault and first degree robbery charges to get the prosecution to drop a dozen other charges.
In a five page letter he sent to the Anchorage Daily News last year, Vukovich said he was backing away from the proposed punishment he had for his crimes – that the sentence not be longer than the combined prison terms of the three assault victims, plus the sentence given to the man Vukovich said molested him as a boy.
He wrote in the letter that if you have already lost your youth to a child abuser, people should not throw away their adult lives by committing violent acts that send them to prison for years. He added there is no place for vigilante justice in a civilized society.
Vukovich said he never got the professional help he needed after his childhood abuse and turned to a life of crime and served several terms in jail. He said he is far from perfect and is just like everyone else. He also noted that it is important to him that another person who was born and raised in Alaska who had a similar abused upbringing does not end up in his situation.
The convict said that both of his parents were strong Christians and had he and his brother going to church services two or three times per week. So, he wrote in his letter, one can imagine his horror and confusion when the man who adopted him began to use the prayer sessions late at night to sexually molest him. He also claims the man beat him with a 2×4.
Vukovich said the name of his adoptive father was Larry L. Fulton. According to court documents filed in another case, the childhood of abuse and molestation was documented back in the late 1980s. According to a 1989 news article, Fulton was found guilty of second degree abuse of a minor and received a three year suspended sentence.
Vukovich said after his stepfather was sentenced, his family moved away and he was home schooled. But he never got any counseling and no one from the state ever checked on him.
Prosecutors stated during the trial that Vukovich had a notebook with a list of names during the 2016 assaults. The names included Andres Barbosa, Charles Albee and Wesley Demarest. In a five day span, Vukovich entered their homes and assaulted them. He knocked out Demarest with a hammer and stole a laptop and a truck among other items.
Demarest said the man referred to himself as an avenging angel during the attack. The criminal later told police he was targeting the men because they were on the state’s sex offender registry. The registry includes home and work addresses.
Vukovich said that he heard about the locations of the three men through associates in Anchorage. While he did not know the men personally, he felt he needed to act.
Vukovich wrote in his letter that he thought back to what he endured as a child and felt he had to act. He said he took matters into his own hands and attacked three convicted pedophiles.
His attorney stated during the trial that his client should be under supervision in and out of prison for a long time. He said the man also needed treatment for post traumatic stress and other treatment for violent offenders. The lawyer said he thinks Vukovich should not be punished further because he has been punished for years. The entire string of events started out because of abuse as a child who never deserved that treatment.
Demarest stated before the trial took place that he thinks the man should get many years in prison. The victim said he has a traumatic brain injury from the attack and now has difficulty speaking. He also lost his job not long after the attack. Demarest said the attack mostly destroyed his life, and in that sense, Vukovich got what he wanted.
Vukovich stated in his letter before the trial that he regrets the injuries he inflicted upon Demarest and the others. He noted that he never intended to hurt Demarest as much as he did and he has deep regrets about it. Vukovich said he hopes to gain his freedom again eventually and to share what happened to him so that no one else does what he did, in terms of a life of crime and assaulting others. There are ways to channel the negative energy of what happened to him into positive things.
He said his life sentence began years ago, and it was handed down by a hateful, ignorant stepfather. He said that he is now facing losing years more of his life due to a poor decision to lash out at people convicted of child sex crimes. He noted that for everyone who has suffered as he suffered, it is important to love yourself and those around you. That is the best way forward to move on with your life, not to commit violence.