A man originally charged with multiple counts of assault and kidnapping was sentenced on Thursday following his guilty plea to a deal in July.
Joshua Vars, 31, of Soldotna, was charged with two counts of kidnapping, four counts of second-degree assault, three counts of third-degree assault, two counts of coercion — all are felony charges. He was changed with misdemeanor charges of one count of interfering with a report of a domestic violence crime and one count of second-degree unlawful contact.
Vars pleaded guilty to a consolidated third-degree assault charge on July 11. The deal was accepted prior to the Alaska Department of Law’s policy change that no longer allows deals for lesser sentences.
Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet sentenced Vars to five years with three years served in jail and two years suspended. He will be on probation for five years following his release. He is sentenced to both general and special conditions of probation including complete recommended treatments and batterers intervention program and to have no contact with the victim.
At the hearing, the victim made a statement.
“I’m lucky that I survived,” she said, her voice shaking.
She said she has nightmares, and a scar on her forehead that doesn’t allow her to forget the violence.
“I wish I could go back and never have met Josh,” she said.
Vars declined to say anything at the hearing.
Huguelet said when women and children are abused by men it is a basic violation of how society operates.
“I hope that you can learn from this experience … and not end up in front of another judge with these types of charges,” he said to Vars.
According to an Alaska State Trooper report the incident that led to the charges occurred on the afternoon of Feb. 21, 2012 in Nikiski. A witness reported seeing a man and a woman covered in blood fighting near a vehicle. Within a few moments, the woman called to report Vars had assaulted her and was coming back.
The responding trooper found the victim at a Happy Lane residence bleeding substantially. She told the trooper they were breaking up and had driven Vars to the residence to stay with friends. As he was getting his stuff from the car, they started to argue and he began to strangle her in the vehicle, according to the charging document.
She told the trooper Vars put his hand over her mouth and nose and said he was going to kill her. The victim was able to bite Vars, but he grabbed her hair and punched her head repeatedly. She said he bit her forehead. After a while, Vars fled on foot, the report states.
The victim was taken to Central Peninsula Hospital for treatment, according to the report.
Vars was found hiding in a Foley Drive home. He had dried blood on his hands and lacerations on one cheek and both hands. Vars told the trooper the victim had bit his finger and hit him when he was getting his belongings. He said grabbed her hair and throat in retaliation, the report states.
Vars is incarcerated at Wildwood Pretrial Facility.
Kaylee Osowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.