A Texas man convicted of storming the US Capitol wearing a handgun helmet and body armor was sentenced on Monday to 87 months – more than seven years – in prison, the longest sentence long inflicted to date among hundreds of Capitol riot cases.
Prosecutors said Guy Reffitt told other members of the Texas Three Percenters militia that he planned to drag Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi out of the Capitol building by her ankles, “with her head hitting every step in descendant,” according to a court filing. .
Reffitt was the first person to stand trial for the January 6, 2021 attack, in which supporters of then-President Donald Trump interrupted the joint session of Congress to certify Joe Biden’s election victory in 2020.
U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, who presided over Reffitt’s jury trial, also sentenced him to three years of probation after his prison sentence and ordered him to pay $2,000 in restitution.
Justice Department prosecutors have recommended a 15-year prison sentence for Reffitt, who has already been jailed for about 19 months. They said he was a member of a militia that intended to get lawmakers out of the building and take control of Congress to prevent certification of the Electoral College vote.
Sentencing guidelines calculated by the court’s probation service called for a sentence ranging from nine years to 11 years and three months. Prosecutors argued that a “start to the top for terrorism” was warranted in Reffitt’s case.
The longest sentence before Reffitt’s was five years and three months, for two men who pleaded guilty to assaulting police officers on Capitol Hill.
Defense attorney Clinton Broden requested that Reffitt be sentenced to no more than two years in prison. Broden noted that Reffitt did not assault any law enforcement officers or enter the Capitol building.
Videos captured the confrontation between outnumbered Capitol police officers and a crowd of people, including Reffitt, who approached them from the west side of the Capitol.
Reffitt was armed with a Smith & Wesson pistol in a waist holster, wearing zippered handcuffs and wearing a body armor and helmet fitted with a video camera when he advanced on the officers, according to prosecutors. He retreated after an officer sprayed him with pepper spray in the face, but he waved at other rioters who eventually entered the building, prosecutors said.
Reffitt did not testify at his trial until jurors convicted him in March on all five counts. The jury found him guilty of obstructing the joint session of Congress, interfering with police outside the Capitol, and threatening his two teenage boys if they reported him to law enforcement. order.
From inaction to adding “fuel to the flames,” the House Select Committee exposed former President Donald Trump’s moves during the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot.
Reffitt’s 19-year-old son Jackson testified that his father told him and his sister, then 16, that they would be traitors if they reported him to authorities and warned them that “traitors get shot”.
Guy Reffitt was a member of the Texas Three Percenters militia, prosecutors say. The Three Percenters movement refers to the myth that only 3% of Americans fought in the Revolutionary War against the British.
Reffitt lived with his wife and children in Wylie, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He traveled to Washington, DC, with fellow militia member Rocky Hardie.
Hardie testified that they were both armed with holstered handguns when they attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally before the riot. Hardie also said Reffitt gave him two pairs of zippered handcuffs in case they needed to restrain someone.
More than 840 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the riot. More than 340 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors. More than 220 were convicted, nearly half of them to prison terms. About 150 others have trial dates extending into 2023.
Reffitt is one of seven Capitol riot defendants to have won a jury trial so far. The jurors unanimously found them guilty on all counts in their respective indictments.
Stephen Ayres, who was found guilty of participating in the US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, testified before the House Select Committee on Tuesday that he was pressured into entering the Capitol building after eavesdropping former President Trump’s speech at the Ellipse. “The president pissed everyone off and told everyone to get off. So we basically have [were] right after what he said.