“I’m, an avenging angel, I’m going to mete out justice for the people you hurt.” Jason Vukovich said to one of the pedophiles before beating him up with his hammer.
At the two-day-hearing that Started on Friday, Jason Vukovich’s lawyer, Ember Tilton argued for a more merciful sentence for his client, who attacked three men in June 2016.
Jason said in court that he was physically and sexually abused by his stepfather while growing up, which contributed his anger towards sex offenders. But now he takes “full responsibility for his action.”
In one of the cases, Jason Vukovich went to the house of 67-year-old Wesley Hayes Demarest and beat him so badly with a hammer that his skull fractured.
Jason Vukovich who attacked three registered sex offenders in Alaska and called himself “an avenging angel seeking justice” was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Monday for assault and robbery charges.
But Patrick McKay, the prosecutor argued that this was not an excuse for what Vukovich had done and to target and attack three strangers, even beating one of his victims so badly that he fractured his skull and knocked him unconscious.
“People do not get to take the law into their own hands just because they don’t like a particular group of people or a particular person.” Assistant District Attorney Patrick McKay told the judge.
As a part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss more than a dozen other charges against him after Vukovich agreed to plead guilty to first degree attempted assault and consolidated county of first-degree robbery.
Vukovich got arrested the same night he allegedly hammered sex offender, Demarest’s skull who was asleep when Vukovich terrorized his house. According to the reports Vukovich broke into the victim’s home, beat them with his fists or a hammer, and then stole possessions before fleeing.
Superior Court Judge Erin Marston handed down the sentence to Vukovich: 25 years in prison, he also sentenced Vukovich to five years in probation., saying “Vigilantism is not something that we accept in America, It’s not something that we accept in this community and it is just simply something that will not be tolerated.”
The judge said that the sex offenders had gone through the court system, received their sentences, and put their names on Alaska’s public sex offender registry, where Vukovich found their addresses.
Judge Erin told Vukovich that “The purpose of the registry was to keep the community safe. It was not the purpose of the registry to allow people to do their own brand of justice.”
Prosecutor Mckay said that Vukovich had a list of nine names that he was planning to target when he was released from jail in 2016. He collected the name from acquaintances who told him the people were “pedophiles”
According to Anchorage Daily News prosecutors said that the 43-year-old Jason Vukovich assaulted three men he found on the online sex offender registry in June 2016 during a five-day period.
Vukovich hit two of his victims with his fist and another with a hammer., The attack left that victims with a lasting traumatic brain injury. He said he lost his job and can’t even pay his rent.
Vukovich realized his mistake and apologized “I realized now that I had no business assaulting these individuals or taking that law into my own hands, I should have sought mental health counselling before I exploded.”
Vukovich explained that as a child he and his siblings were abused by his adoptive father, Larry Lee Fulton. As a result, his older brother ran away from home, and later he did the same.
“He was a pretty terrible person in general, he liked to administer beatings with various implants – belts, eventually a two-by-four that he had custom-made, and he used to like to disrupt the night by coming in to sexually assault(me).”
Vukovich’s elder brother Joel Fulton told the court that he still receives counseling to deal with the trauma of being physically and sexually abused as a child. Fulton now lives in California with his family.
Vukovich told that he struggled with methamphetamine and was in and out of the jail, he told the judge during his sentencing that vigilantism shouldn’t be a solution for justice.
Fulton told the court that he hasn’t spoken to him at most twice over the past two decades. Still, he said he wanted to help him, and he asked the court system to do the same.
In a note sent from prison Vukovic wrote that: “After being physically and mentally abused by a predator, my life was forever changed. I literally gave my own existence no value or concern. I became a thief and a liar and went on to make many poor choices throughout my life.”
He also wrote that “Children should be able to play in the streets and parks and go to church without the threat of pedophiles lingering around them.”
He added, “My own heart may have been broken long ago, but with all my being I support every child in pursuit of their dreams.”
Judge Marston expressed sympathy for the brothers but said that Vukovich has ultimately proved he is dangerous and “willing to hurt people.”