A 43-year-old man, Jason Vukovich was sentenced to 23 years in prison, in February of 2018, for numerous assault and robbery charges. However, many people believe that Vukovich is actually a vigilante hero because all of his victims were pedophiles.
At one time, Vukovich called himself an “avenging angel seeking justice,” but has since shown regret for his crimes. Vukovich will be eligible to apply for parole once he’s served six years of his sentence.
It was revealed in court that Vukovich was a victim of abuse himself. In his testimony, he said that he was sexually and physically abused by his stepfather as a child. Vukovich now says that the rampage of revenge was not worth it. He now says that he takes "full responsibility for his actions."
According to the charges, Vukovich found three different men through his state’s online sex offender registry list. This rampage took place during five days of violence in June of 2016. Vukovich reportedly knocked one of the targets unconscious by hitting him in the head with a hammer. He also robbed the man, going so far as to steal his laptop and his truck.
Prosecutors say that Vukovich had a notebook that contained a hit list with the names of pedophile targets, including his victims, Charles Albee, Andres Barbosa, and Wesley Demarest.
Superior Court Judge Erin Marston told him during his sentencing that "vigilantism is not something that we accept in America."
Marston pointed out that the men who were hunted down and attacked in this case may have been guilty of terrible crimes, but they had already paid their debts to society and were required by law to keep their names on the registry.
In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors decided to drop over a dozen charges. In a five page letter to Anchorage Daily News, Vukovich made an emotional plea for other people to not turn to violence as he has.
“If you have already lost your youth, like me, due to a child abuser, please do not throw away your present and your future by committing acts of violence. There is no place for vigilante justice in an ordered society. I thought back to my experiences as a child and felt the overwhelming desire to act. I took matters into my own hands and assaulted three pedophiles,” Vukovich said in his letter.
“I began my life sentence many, many years ago, it was handed down to me by an ignorant, hateful, poor substitute for a father. I now face losing most of the rest of my life due to a decision to lash out at people like him. To all those who have suffered like I have, love yourself and those around you, this is truly the only way forward.” the letter added.
In another interview, Vukovich insisted that he was not proud of his actions, and does not want to be celebrated.
“I’m far from perfect — a flawed and imperfect individual like everyone else. However, it’s important to me that someone else who was born and raised in Alaska who had a similar upbringing doesn’t end up with this outcome because quite candidly, it sucks,” he said in an interview with the newspaper.
Ember Tilton, Vukovich’s attorney, says that he is a person who needs psychological treatment, not prison.
“I don’t think he needs to be punished. He’s already been punished. This whole thing started out as the punishment of a child who didn’t deserve to be treated in that way,” Tilton said.
Criminals do not take kindly to pedophiles, who are often targets for vigilantes, especially in prison. Last week, we reported that a notorious pedophile faced street justice while behind bars at a prison in Milan, Michigan. 40-year-old Christian Maire was sentenced to 40 years in prison for running a child exploitation and pornography ring.
However, the inmates at the prison decided that death was the proper penalty for his crimes. The medical examiner determined that Maire died of multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma to the head. The incident is being investigated as a homicide, but no suspects in the case have been announced.
It is true that society would get very messy if everyone took justice into their own hands. However, the actions that some of these vigilantes take are understandable, considering that the law often lets these predators fall through the cracks.
In another recent story we reported on, a pedophile in the UK managed to avoid jail time after the third time of getting caught with a large stockpile of child abuse images and videos. On the final time he was caught, there were over a million files on his hard drive.