Man convicted of stabbing Anchorage kids dies behind bars
The man convicted of trying to kill four Anchorage elementary-school students in a 2001 knife attack has died.
Jason Pritchard, 51, was found unresponsive Thursday during breakfast service at the Anchorage Correctional Complex, according to the state Department of Corrections. Pritchard had been transferred to the facility earlier this month from the Spring Creek Correctional Center near Seward for medical care.
In a statement, DOC officials said Pritchard was discovered just before 7 a.m. Thursday. Correctional officers and medical staff immediately tried to revive Pritchard, until emergency responders arrived at 7:07 a.m. and he was declared dead half an hour later. No foul play is suspected.
Pritchard was serving a 99-year sentence for a May 2001 attack at Mountain View Elementary School, during which he stabbed three boys with a fillet knife who were waiting in line for a breakfast program and slashed the throat of a fourth boy hiding under a desk. Court records show he was initially charged with five counts of attempted murder, and ultimately pleaded no contest to two.
A former roommate of Pritchard said in court that Pritchard believed he could send children to heaven by killing them. Court documents also say Pritchard castrated himself as part of his religious beliefs.
During a court appearance, several days after the knife attack while being escorted out of court Pritchard started yelling, "Kill the young children, then kill yourselves. Kill the young children, then kill yourselves!"
A prosecutor at the time said the boys survived "by the grace of God."
According to DOC, Pritchard's death is the first this year of a person in its custody.
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