A Juneau man will spend more time in prison after firing a shot at a downtown apartment building last May and then barricading himself in a separate house nearby.
Jeffrey Allen Isturis, 52, was sentenced on Monday in Juneau Superior Court.
The sentence includes five-years in prison with three-years suspended for a weapons misconduct charge, three-months for violating a domestic violence restraining order, plus over eleven-months of previously-suspended time now imposed. That comes to a total of about three-years and two-months in prison. The sentence also includes five-years on probation.
Two other charges of assault were dismissed as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Isturis pled guilty to the remaining charges in August.
Isturis said he was nervous and claimed that he did not understand why the sentence seemed to be so harsh. But Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg said he had a different way of looking at it, especially considering the serious nature of the crime and Isturis’ prior criminal history.
“In my mind, the issue is whether the sentence that was agreed to is too lenient or not,” said Judge Pallenberg.
Pallenberg suggested that – if he had the leeway — would’ve imposed more time in prison, especially if Isturis was convicted during a jury trial and went through open sentencing. But Pallenberg said the sentence was not unreasonable when compared to what other judges might independently hand down for a similiar crime.
“I think that this is a very favorable resolution for him,” said Assistant District Attorney Amy Williams.
Williams says Isturis has twenty-six prior convictions going back almost thirty years, ten of those convictions were just for assault. Isturis was already on probation for two other assaults when the May incident occurred.
“If Mr. Isturis is concerned that this sentence is too harsh, then his concerns are terribly misguided considering the seriousness of the offense,” said Williams.
The incident at the Fosbee Apartments near the Governor’s Mansion last May happened just hours after a woman had a domestic violence protective order served against him. After shooting at the woman’s door, Isturis fled and spent over five hours in the garage of a house a few blocks away near West 11th and ‘C’ Streets until surrendering to Juneau Police. Officers had cordoned off the area until the stand-off was resolved.
Isturis sat through part of the sentencing hearing with elbows on the table and head against his cuffed hands. He appeared to be trembling during part of the proceeding, and he reached for a tissue when he broke down as he issued his own comments later. Isturis apologized to the community, his parents, the court, and police. He essentially admitted that alcohol was at the root of all of his problems and he said he needed to get sober for himself.
“I hurt my kids really bad,” said Isturis. “I (also) hurt someone that I really cared about. We were in love with each other.”
“We both knew that — when we both drank — we’d get into an argument and that it’d be about the past,” said Isturis.
As part of his sentence, Isturis must participate in addiction treatment, a batterers intervention program, and a mental health evaluation and any potential treatment.