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Anchorage man who attacked sex offenders loses appeal that PTSD factored into his crimes

Jason Vukovich was sentenced for his crimes in 2018.
Jason Vukovich was sentenced for his crimes in 2018.(KTUU)
Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 7:17 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A man who called himself an “avenging angel” for attacking sex offenders has lost his appeal to have his PTSD be considered as a mitigating factor in his sentence.

Jason Vukovich pleaded guilty to a series of crimes that occurred in June of 2016 where he used the Alaska sex offender registry to find his victims. Vukovich threatened, assaulted and robbed men who were placed on the sex offender registry for crimes ranging from possession of child pornography to attempted sex abuse of a minor.

According to court documents, Vukovich went to the addresses listed on the sex offender registry, broke into their homes, assaulted the occupants and stole from the sex offenders. In his third robbery, Vukovich struck the man he was robbing with a hammer four or five times after the man tried to fight back. Court documents say the man suffered from a traumatic brain injury.

After his arrest, Vukovich wrote a letter to what was then the Alaska Dispatch News saying he had been sexually assaulted as a child and had targeted men who had committed similar abuses. He entered into a plea agreement with the state, pleading guilty to one count of attempted first-degree assault and another count of first-degree robbery. Vukovich was sentenced to 28 years in prison with five years suspended and five years on probation in 2018.

Since then, Vukovich has appealed the sentence, saying his post-traumatic stress disorder should have been considered a mitigating factor for his crimes. The post-traumatic stress disorder stems from childhood sexual abuse, Vukovich said, which he believes the court failed to consider in sentencing. In his appeal, Vukovich said the court should have considered that he was committing these crimes while “under some degree of duress." Vukovich was diagnosed with the disorder five years ago, and a doctor testified that Vukovich’s behaviors “were consistent with someone who suffered from PTSD," a summary of the appeal states.

The court said Vukovich did not meet the standard for a statutory mitigator because he provided limited evidence showing how he was under duress, coercion, threat or compulsion when he committed the crimes.

Vukovich also argued that the court sentence should be appealed as it was excessive and not made with the intent of rehabilitating him. Again, the court said this argument was unconvincing as Vukovich failed to show his actions were “largely the product of untreated PTSD.”

On Wednesday, the court of appeals reaffirmed the sentence saying, “we conclude that the sentence imposed is not clearly mistaken.”

When he was sentenced by Judge Erin Marston with the Anchorage Superior Court in 2018 the Marston said, “Vigilantism won’t be accepted in our society."

Some Alaska residents called Vukovich a hero after his piece was published in Alaska Dispatch News, even though he acted outside of the law, because he targeted sex offenders.

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