WASHINGTON – A Donald Trump fan from Texas who tried to storm the US Capitol while armed with a gun has been sentenced to more than 7 years in prison on Monday after a judge denied the Justice Department’s request for a “terrorism enhancement” that would have resulted in a longer prison sentence.
Guy Reffitt was the first accused of January 6 to stand trial. Reffitt’s own son actually tipped off the FBI a few weeks before Jan. 6, but didn’t hear back until after the attack. The government had a huge amount of evidence against Reffitt, including his friend’s testimony that Reffitt wore zippers and that the duo made the decision to carry guns because they’d rather be “judged.” by a jury of twelve people rather than carried by six”. “
Reffitt was found guilty of five counts in March, including transporting a firearm in support of civil unrest and obstructing official process, although he did not enter the Capitol or didn’t use physical violence because he was eventually incapacitated after charging the police line.
In court on Monday, Reffitt described himself as “a fucking idiot” and “not thinking clearly” when he attempted to storm the US Capitol.
“I clearly screwed up,” Reffitt said.
“I really wanted to apologize, multiple apologies really, and accept responsibility because I hate what I did,” he said.
Reffitt, who was a member of the Texas III%ers, told the judge he no longer wanted to associate with militia groups or “or stupid bullshit like that.”
Judge Dabney L. Friedrich, a Trump appointee and former member of the US Sentencing Commission, said giving Reffitt an enhanced sentence for carrying a gun while committing a crime and for having committed a crime of interior terrorism would create a disparity of sorrow with other defendants of January 6.
“There are a lot of cases where the defendants committed very violent assaults and even possessed weapons…that didn’t get that start,” Freidrich said.
Prosecutors had argued that the upward move for terrorism was justified because Reffitt “planned to overtake our government.”
“He wasn’t done,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler said. “January 6 was the preface.”
“We believe what he was doing that day was terrorism, we believe he is a domestic terrorist,” Nestler continued.
Reffitt wore a body camera that recorded his violent rhetoric at the Trump rally that preceded the riot.
“I’m taking the Capitol with everybody fucking else,” Guy Reffitt said in his registration, like “Tiny Dancer” played at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally. “We’re all gonna drag these motherfuckers around kicking and screaming, I don’t care. I just wanna see Pelosi’s head hit every goddamn stairway on the way out, and Mitch McConnell too, f**k ’em all… It’s time to take our country back… I think we’ve got the numbers to make it happen.”
He also recorded a Zoom meeting on his computer where he spoke at length about his actions on January 6.
Nestler argued that Reffitt ‘is in a class of her own’, but Freidrich said she was ‘not so sure she agreed with the government on this’ given the number of other defendants of January 6 who said similar things.
“This defendant has chilling claims that border on delusional, and they are extremely concerning to the court,” Freidrich said. “But other defendants have done it too. That’s the point I’m trying to make.
According to Friedrich’s rulings, without the sentencing enhancements, Reffitt’s sentencing guidelines were 87 to 108 months in federal prison.
Prosecutors argued during his trial in March that Reffitt “ignited the game” on the west side of the Capitol on Jan. 6, leading the crowd to the Capitol building where rioters stormed.
“He was thrilled with what he did, what the crowd did,” a federal prosecutor told jurors. “Back home in Texas, he thought he was okay.”
In court Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Risa Berkower read a brief letter from Reffitt’s son, Jackson Reffitt, who testified against his father. He wanted mental health treatment to be part of his father’s sentence.
“My dad got lost in countless things,” Jackson Reffitt wrote. “The prison system should not be used to destroy a person, but to rehabilitate them.”
Former United States Capitol Police Officer Shauni Kerkhoff also issued a victim impact statement, asking for the maximum sentence for Reffitt due to his lack of remorse, his pride in his actions and the turmoil he caused.
“His actions were not acts of patriotism, but acts of domestic terrorism,” Kerkhoff said.
Peyton Reffitt, one of Guy Reffitt’s daughters, said her father was not a threat and her mental health was “a real issue”. She struggled to get through part of her statement because she was overwhelmed with emotion and her father was visibly crying.
Reffitt’s daughter previously wrote a letter to the judge saying it was “extremely embarrassing” that her father – like many “middle-aged white men” – had been sucked into Trump and her father “fallen to knees when President Trump spoke.”
“President Trump tricked my father and many other normal citizens with families into believing the last election was fraudulent,” the 18-year-old wrote in her letter.
She argued on Monday that her father had not played a leadership role on January 6.
“My father’s name was not on all the flags that were there that day, that everyone was carrying,” she told the court. “It was another man’s name.”