An Alaska man is facing federal charges after he allegedly threatened to hire an assassin to kill Senator Lisa Murkowski, authorities said, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday, October 6, 2021.
Jay Allen Johnson, 65, allegedly left death threats via Murkowski’s voicemail, including a separate threat to her Washington, D.C., office where he asked the senator if she knew what a .50 caliber shell does to a human head.
Murkowski was not named in the FBI’s affidavit, but Karina Borger, a spokesperson for Murkowski, confirmed in an email to the Associated Press that the senator was listed in the affidavit as “Senator 1.”
“Threats should be taken seriously and our laws should be enforced to ensure accountability,” Borger said in a follow-up email to the AP. “Senator Murkowski is thankful for the hard work of the federal law enforcement and for all they do to keep us safe.”
Johnson was arrested Monday and was being held at the Fairbanks Correctional Complex. Gary Colbath, a federal public defender, has been assigned the case and didn’t immediately return a phone message to the AP seeking comment. Charging documents in the cases were filed October 1 under seal, which was lifted Wednesday.
Johnson faces several charges, including threatening to murder a U.S. official with intent to intimidate or impede that person while conducting their official duties, making interstate threats, and threatening to damage property by fire or explosives, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.
The phone system at the senators’ offices captures the phone number of the person calling. An investigation into the number led law enforcement to a woman identified only by the initials “CP” who married Johnson in Texas in 2016, the affidavit said. Further investigation matched the number to both Johnson and CP, and both to a post office box and a physical address in Delta Junction, the court documents said.
Delta Junction, a community of just under 1,000 residents, is located about 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks.