Man who threatened to kill Alaska’s senators sentenced to 32 months in prison
The man who threatened to kill Alaska’s senators has been sentenced to 32 months in prison.
Jay Allen Johnson, 65, was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty in January to two counts of threatening to kill a U.S. official. Johnson previous pleaded not guilty to charges against him, and was ordered to remain detained ahead of his trial.
He was also fined $5,000 and, in accordance with his plea agreement, will not be permitted to contact Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Dan Sullivan (R), or their families and staff, once he is released from prison. He also agreed to relinquish the firearms that were recovered in a search of his residence.
Johnson left 17 threatening voicemails for Murkowski and Sullivan between April 2021 and September 2021, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska. Johnson said the messages were meant to retaliate against the senators for carrying out their official duties.
In voicemails left at Murkowski’s Washington, D.C. office, Johnson threatened to “burn” the senator’s properties, questioned if she knew what a .50 caliber shell “does to a human head,” and threatened to hire an assassin to kill her, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
In messages left on Sullivan’s voicemail, Johnson threatened to get his “.50 caliber out,” create a “GoFundMe page for the … shells,” and come “with a vengeance, motherf—–.”
In audio recordings of the voicemails played in court, Johnson was heard referencing Murkowski’s vote to convict former President Trump in his impeachment trial.
“Nobody in this state wanted you to impeach Trump,” he said in a voicemail. “Just resign and get the f— gone.”
Authorities tracked the calls back to Delta Junction, Alaska, and then the FBI and Capitol Police tracked the cell phone number to Johnson. He was arrested on Oct. 4 after authorities saw him driving from Delta Junction to Fairbanks International Airport.
The FBI later recovered seven unsecured firearms during a search of Johnson’s residence. The firearms were illegally in his possession because he was previously convicted of a felony.
U.S. Attorney John Kuhn Jr. of the District of Alaska said in a statement that Johnson’s behavior “must be punished.”
“Nothing excuses this conduct, threatening our elected officials, an act that attacks our very system of governance,” Kuhn said. “The erosion of civility in our political discourse will never justify threats or acts of violence. Johnson’s actions must be punished, and the Department of Justice will always work to ensure our elected officials can serve without fear of harm.”