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Delta Junction man accused of threatening to have Sen. Murkowski killed

A man from Alaska faces federal charges after authorities say he threatened Alaska’s two senators
Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks to the media.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks to the media.(KTUU)
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 5:40 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A Delta Junction man faces federal charges after allegedly threatening to hire an assassin to kill U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, according to federal charging documents.

The man, 65-year-old Jay Allen Johnson, was arrested Monday in Fairbanks and is accused of making threats to two senators, including Murkowski. The charging documents were filed on Oct. 1, but were unsealed on Wednesday, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska.

Murkowski is not named in the criminal complaint or affidavit, but Karina Borger, a spokesperson for her office, confirmed Wednesday that Murkowski is the person referred to in the affidavit as “Senator 1.” According to the unsealed criminal complaint, Murkowski’s office received a voicemail on Sept. 2, in which Johnson allegedly told the senator he would find out where she was, and use his “veteran’s skills.” In the voicemail, the caller asked Murkowski whether she knew what a .50 caliber shell “does to a ... human head,” according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Murkowski’s office received four voice messages from Johnson during the period from August to September of this year. In a Sept. 29 voicemail, the caller threatened to hire an assassin to kill Murkowski, the affidavit states.

Johnson is also accused of making calls to Alaska’s second U.S. senator. The affidavit states that, between April and September, the office of “Senator 2″ received 13 voice messages from the phone number that investigators were able to connect back to Johnson through telephone records. The second senator was Sen. Dan Sullivan, which Amanda Coyne, his senior adviser, confirmed on Wednesday.

In the calls made to Sullivan’s office, the caller identified themselves as Jay Johnson in several of the messages, the affidavit states. The court documents do not include details from those calls.

According to the affidavit, investigators linked Johnson to the phone number by first connecting it with a person named only by the initials C.P. They found the person had married Johnson in 2016 in Texas, and research connected both Johnson and C.P. to the same phone number used to make the calls and to an address in Delta Junction.

Johnson faces federal charges including threatening to murder a United States official with intent to impede, intimidate or interfere with the official while they performed their duties; threatening to kill, injure or intimidate a person or unlawfully damage or destroy property by means of fire or explosives; and making an interstate threats, according to the criminal complaint.

Johnson was originally scheduled to appear in federal court in Fairbanks Wednesday, but Public Affairs Officer Lisa Houghton said via email that his appearance was rescheduled to Thursday.

If convicted, Johnson could face a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for the most serious charges, Wednesday’s press release states. The FBI and the U.S. Capitol Police are investigating the case.

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