Delta Junction man charged with threatening Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan

Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski in August. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

A Delta Junction man will appear before a federal judge Friday on charges that he made several violent threats against Alaska’s two senators.

Federal investigators say 65-year-old Jay Allen Johnson left a message early last month on Senator Lisa Murkowski’s Washington, D.C, office voicemail. On the message, Johnson asked if Murkowski knew what happens when a .50-caliber bullet hits a human in the head.

According to court documents unsealed Wednesday, the threat was part of a profanity-laced tirade that included quote, “I will find out … where you’re at. I will find out all of your properties, and I will burn everything you hope to have.”

The affidavit is based on an FBI investigator’s findings. It says Johnson left four messages on Murkowski’s voicemail, including one on Sept. 29 in which he allegedly threatened to hire a hitman.

He added, quote, “Resign or get the eff gone, or die!”

The document says Senator Dan Sullivan got 13 phone calls over a six-month period last year from the same phone number. In several of those message, the caller identified himself as Jay Johnson and even left his Delta Junction post office box address.

The senators weren’t named in the affadavit, but spokespersons for Murkowski and Sullivan both confirmed the voicemails. Both declined comment.

Johnson was arrested Monday and is being held at Fairbanks Correctional Center. He’s scheduled to appear Friday before federal Magistrate Judge Scott Oravec of the U.S. District Court for Alaska for an online arraignment and detention hearing.

“The hearing is to determine whether he will continue to be detained,” said Lisa Houghton, a spokesperson for the U.S. District Attorney’s Alaska office.

“This will be his initial court appearance and his initial arraignment. I would expect that he will enter a plea, but we’ll see what he and his attorney determine,” Houghton said.

A news release issued Wednesday says Johnson is charged with threatening U.S. officials with intent to intimidate them while they were engaged in the performance of official duties. He’s also charged with making interstate threats and an interstate threat to damage property by fire or explosive.

If convicted on the most serious charges, Johnson could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in federal prison.

The investigation by the FBI and U.S. Capitol Police continues.

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