WASHINGTON (AP) – A Texas man convicted of assaulting the US Capitol with a pistol, helmet and body armor was sentenced Monday to more than seven years in prison, the longest sentence ever in hundreds of Capitol riot cases. .
Prosecutors said Guy Refitt told fellow members of the Texas Three Percentage militia group that he planned to drag House Speaker Nancy Pelosi out of the Capitol building by her ankles, “hitting her head down every step of the way,” According to a court filing .
Refit’s prison sentence — seven years and three months — is two years more than the previous longest prison sentence for a Capitol riot defendant. But that’s less than half the 15-year prison term requested by a federal prosecutor who called Refit a domestic terrorist and said he wanted to physically remove and replace members of Congress.
Refit was the first to go on trial for the January 6, 2021 attack in which supporters of then-President Donald Trump blocked a joint session of Congress to testify to Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
U.S. District Judge Dabney Frederick, who presided over Refit’s jury trial, also sentenced him to three years’ supervised release after his prison sentence and ordered him to pay $2,000 in damages.
Justice Department prosecutors recommended a 15-year prison sentence for Refit, who has already been jailed for nearly 19 months. He said he was a member of a militia group that intended to take over Congress in order to pull lawmakers out of the building and prevent authentication of the Electoral College vote.
Sentencing guidelines calculated by the court’s probation department called for sentences ranging from nine years to 11 years and up to three months. Prosecutors argued that Refit’s case required an “upward departure for terrorism”.
The longest sentences before the refit were five years and three months for the two men convicted of assaulting police officers at the Capitol.
Defense attorney Clinton Broden asked Refit not to serve a prison sentence of more than two years. Broden noted that Refit did not attack any law enforcement officers or enter the Capitol building.
The video captured a confrontation between Capitol police officers and a crowd of people, including Refit, who approached them on the west side of the Capitol.
According to prosecutors, Refitt was armed with a Smith & Wesson pistol in a holster at his waist, zip-tie handcuffs and wearing a helmet equipped with body armor and a video camera, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors said he held back after one officer sprayed pepper in his face, but he shook hands at other rioters, who eventually ransacked the building.
Refit did not testify at his trial before a jury convicted him in March of all five counts in his indictment. The jury found him guilty of obstructing a joint session of Congress, interfering with police officers outside the Capitol, and threatening his two teenage children if he reported it to law enforcement.
Refit’s 19-year-old son, Jackson, testified that his father told him and his sister, aged 16, that if they reported it to the authorities and warned them that “the traitors would be shot.” Will be traitors.”
Guy Refitt was a member of the Texas Three Percentiles militia group, according to prosecutors. The Three Percentors movement refers to the myth that only 3% of Americans fought in the Revolutionary War against the British.
Refitt lived with his wife and children in Wiley, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He moved to Washington, DC with Rocky Hardy, a fellow member of the militia group.
Hardy testified that they were both armed with holstead handguns while attending Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally before the riots. Hardy also said that Refit gave him two pairs of zip-tie cuffs in case he needed to detain someone.
More than 840 people have been indicted for riot-related federal crimes. More than 340 of them have confessed to their crime, most of them for misconduct. More than 220 have been sentenced, of whom nearly half have received a sentence of imprisonment. The test dates of about 150 others extend to 2023.
Reffitt is one of seven Capital Riot defendants to have received a jury trial so far. The jurors unanimously indicted all seven of them on all counts in their respective indictments.
Follow AP’s coverage of the January 6 committee hearing