Fed-up with local sex offenders, a self-appointed vigilante dubbed the “avenging angel” decided to hunt down pedophiles and rapists, dishing out street justice. After making the perverts pay, the avenger has finally heard the judge’s decision on the matter.
When Jason Vukovich was just 4 years old, he was adopted by his violent stepfather in Anchorage, Alaska. For more than a decade, he and his older brother were subjected to brutal beatings and heinous sexual abuse, Medium reports. After running away from home at age 16, he and his brother experienced the ruthlessness of the outside world.
Despite telling police about the years of abuse and seeing their stepfather charged with abuse of minors, the sex offender served no prison time due to a suspended sentence. As a teen vagrant, Vukovich resorted to stealing in order to survive the streets, which repeatedly landed him in juvenile detention. Later, he was convicted of assaulting his ex-wife — which he denies — theft, and drug abuse. It was then that Vukovich made a major life decision.
Taking on the title of “avenging angel seeking justice,” Vukovich decided to become the defender he wished he had as a child. The 42-year-old began searching out registered sex offenders online, determined to exact revenge for their helpless victims. The public records provided a veritable smorgasbord of targets.
After finding the offenders’ addresses on the National Sex Offender Registry, Vukovich headed out on a spree of vigilantism. When Charles Albee, who had been convicted of second-degree abuse of a minor, answered a knock at the door, Vukovich forced himself into the house and began beating him. Likewise, when child pornographer Andres Barbosa came to his stoop, the “avenging angel” forced him into a chair and beat him bloody.
Vukovich wouldn’t be as merciful with his last target. After waking up to the breaking of a window, Wesley Demarest was confronted by the hammer-wielding vigilante with a score to settle. Vukovich reportedly repeatedly bludgeoned Demarest, who was convicted of attempted sexual abuse of a minor, in the head and leaving him unconscious in a pool of blood. Demarest suffered permanent brain trauma, which has caused him to have trouble speaking and finding employment.
“So, the guy hit me in the head six times. I figured he was going to kill me,” Demarest told KTVA. “He said, ‘I’m the avenging angel — I’m going to mete out justice.'”
Vukovich was captured and agreed to plead guilty to first-degree attempted assault and a consolidated count of first-degree robbery. Even with the plea deal, Vukovich faced 25 years in prison — far longer than most registered sex offenders. Just before sentencing, he expressed remorse and warned others not to fall into the same vigilantism.
“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,” Jason Vukovich wrote in a five-page letter sent to the Anchorage Daily News.
Vukovich was subsequently sentenced to 23 years in prison, which is roughly the same amount of time that the 3 sex offenders and his abusive stepfather received. He will be eligible to apply for parole after serving 5.75 years of his sentence.
“There is no place for vigilante justice in an ordered society. I’m far from perfect — a flawed and imperfect individual like everyone else,” he said during an interview in a small room in the Anchorage jail. “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.”
As for the sex offenders he targeted, 68-year-old Demarest came forward to complain to the media about the traumatic assault. He explained that he doesn’t want Vukovich “walking around while I’m alive” and doesn’t think that the registry should include sex offenders’ personal information.
“I don’t think that their place they work should be listed. I don’t think their address should be public knowledge and I think that the name should be enough,” Demarest told KTVA. “How long do I have to pay for it every time I get turned down for a job?” he asked before remembering his own victim, adding, “How long is she going to have to live with it? Okay, so, I guess I will live with it forever.
Vukovich will likely serve more time in prison than all of the aforementioned men convicted of sex crimes. For now, he remains contrite and is expected to apply for parole.
While some believe that vigilantism shouldn’t be glamorized, many have voiced their disagreement with Vukovich’s harsh conviction. Of course, the victims of sexual abuse are real victims, and they are the only ones truly innocent of the hand they’ve been dealt.