Man with assault history arrested in Nikolaevsk fire incident

Man with assault history arrested in Nikolaevsk fire incident

A man with criminal convictions for assault and reckless endangerment has been charged with second-degree arson in a fire at a Nikolaevsk home last Friday.

Alaska State Troopers allege that Derek Jokay-Szilagyi, 46, tried to burn down a home he co-owns with a Nikolaevsk woman.

Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Services firefighters mounted a full response to the fire at about 10:44 p.m. March 1. According to a press release, 12 firefighters and EMTs in two fire engines, one tanker, an ambulance and two command vehicles went to the fire on Nikolaevsk Road. Crews found an exterior porch and parts of the interior on fire, but were able to knock down the outside flames and extinguish the fire inside as well. No one was at the home at the time of the fire, and no one was injured.

In a criminal complaint, Trooper Jake Blessent wrote that the witness who reported the fire said she saw Jokay-Szilagyi walking away from the scene of the fire wearing a hooded sweatshirt, pants and XTRA-TUF boots. Blessent noticed a nearby property had surveillance cameras. He wrote that he looked at video footage. The video showed a person in a hooded sweatshirt wearing a headlamp walk up to the home, and about 30 seconds later a bright flash of light and smoke appeared.

Blessent then went to the home of Jokay-Szilagyi’s mother and contacted Jokay-Szilagyi. Blessent wrote that Jokay-Szilagyi appeared to have eyebrows singed or missing and a red face. Jokay-Szilagyi told Blessent he had never left the home that night and that his mother would corroborate his statements. When Jokay-Szilagyi went to get clothes, Blessent wrote that he saw a hooded sweatshirt in the closet and XTRA-TUF boots in the house. Jokay-Szilagyi denied leaving the home and said he wanted to speak with an attorney.

Blessent interviewed Jokay-Szilagyi’s mother. She said she had gone to bed around 10 p.m. and had last seen her son around 9:30 p.m. She said Jokay-Szilagyi asked her if she would “have his back” if he burned down the house. She also said Jokay-Szilagyi asked her to tell anyone who asked that he had been home all night.

In an interview with the woman who co-owned the burned house, Blessent wrote that the woman claimed she had an altercation with Jokay-Szilagyi while sorting through her dead mother’s belongings. She said Jokay-Szilagyi routinely threatened her on Facebook using her dead mother’s account.

Last May, troopers charged Jokay-Szilagyi with reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct when he laid down in the road, slowing firefighters from responding to a wildfire in Nikolaevsk. The reckless endangerment charge was dismissed, but Jokay-Szilagyi pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to time served.

After that incident, in June of 2018 Alaska State Troopers arrested Jokay-Szilagyi for assault after he threatened a South Peninsula Hospital employee with an aluminum plant stake. Jokay-Szilagyi had been taken to the hospital for a mental-health evaluation after he said he felt suicidal and homicidal. He pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and was sentenced to nine months in jail with six months suspended.

In 2017, Jokay-Szilagyi pleaded guilty to making a false report when he claimed a neighbor had shot at him. He also pleaded guilty to harassment for urinating on the floor at the Homer Jail and throwing urine-soaked towels at troopers. In that case, prosecutors filed a petition to revoke probation for an earlier charge and he was ordered to serve 60 days.

Also in 2017, troopers charged Jokay-Szilagyi with second-degree terroristic threatening for threats he made to a mental-health worker, but that charge was dismissed. He pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was sentenced to 30 days in jail with 20 days suspended.

According to court records, Jokay-Szilagyi was granted bail on the latest charge with the condition that he not contact his victim. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 22 in Homer.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchor Point house fire leaves one dead, one in serious condition

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Snow and debris from an avalanche can be seen near Mile 45 on the Seward Highway on Monday, March 29, 2021. (Photo courtesy Goldie Shealy)
Center promotes avalanche awareness

The Chugach Avalanche Center in Girdwood will begin its daily forecasts Saturday.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Historic sockeye run predicted for Bristol Bay

ADF&G says 2022 run could break this year’s record

The entrance to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in the Tongass National Forest was covered in snow on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, a day after federal authorities announced the next step in restoring the 2001 Roadless Rule on the forest. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Feds put freeze on Roadless Rule rollback

On the Roadless Rule again.

tease
Alaska man pleads not guilty to threatening 2 US senators

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.

Commercial fishing vessels are seen here on the Kenai River on July 10, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Fishing industry takes a hit during pandemic

Overall fish harvesting jobs in Alaska dropped by the widest margin since 2000 — 14.1% — in 2020.

FILE - The Olympic rings stand atop a sign at the entrance to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., on July 8, 2020. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, declared "squaw" to be a derogatory term and said she is taking steps to remove the term from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names. The popular California ski resort changed its name to Palisades Tahoe earlier this year. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)
Interior secretary seeks to rid U.S. of derogatory place names

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday formally declared… Continue reading

Most Read