Woman jailed for 3 months for taking son to US Capitol during January 6 riots

Virginia Mary Spencer was sentenced on Friday to three months in prison after bringing her 14-year-old son to the US Capitol during the January 6 riots.

Judge Colleen Koller-Kotley handed down Spencer’s sentence on Friday after pleading guilty to the offenses of parade, demonstration or picketing at the Capitol in September.

Virginia Spencer and her husband, Christopher Raphael Spencer, brought their 14-year-old son to the Capitol more than 30 minutes during the riots, despite seeing police throwing tear gas into the crowd, according to court records.

“It must have been a traumatic experience to witness this kind of violence,” Koller-Kotley said. “It’s a complete lack of judgment on your part.”

Spencer’s defense attorney, Alan Orenburg, asked the judge to serve no jail time and be given one year of probation and community service.

However, the judge recommended a sentence of three months in prison and three years of probation for the prosecution.

Christopher Raphael Spencer was also arrested, but has pleaded not guilty to his charges.

Virginia Spencer was at least the 75th person sentenced in connection with the Capitol riots. More than 700 people have been charged and more than 170 have pleaded guilty.

A North Carolina woman was sentenced to three months in prison after her 14-year-old son was brought to the Capitol during the January 6 riots. Above, FBI and ATF law enforcement agents push supporters of former US President Donald Trump as they protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Brent Stirton / Getty Images

Spencer must report in prison by February 25 to serve his 90-day sentence.

The filing said Spencer joined other rioters who overwhelmed a line of police officers, stormed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office suite and demanded entry into the House chamber.

Spencer, a mother of five from Pilot Mountain, North Carolina who works as a restaurant cashier, was arrested in Durham, North Carolina in February.

On January 6, 2021, Spencer and his son went to the Capitol behind a group of members of the far-right Proud Boys. According to prosecutors, the couple briefly held off on abusing one of the defendants.

Inside the Capitol, Christopher Spencer filmed a Facebook Live video as he and his wife briefly entered Pelosi’s office suite, prosecutors said.

One prosecutor wrote, “Note, there was a staff member of Speaker Pelosi who was trapped inside that suite because the rioters told Speaker Pelosi to move away from them.”

Virginia Spencer later joined a group of rioters who chanted “Stop stealing!” were shouting. and “Break it!” outside the House Chamber door, though prosecutors say she was not vocal or in front of that crowd.

Spencers spent more than 30 minutes inside the Capitol before leaving.

Spencer’s lawyer says he “eaten up” media coverage of protests across the country in the summer of 2020 following the killing of a black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

“After months of watching our major cities burn, many people became convinced that vocal displays of outrage in the form of protests were the only way to make their voices heard,” Orenburg said in a court filing.

His lawyer said that Spencer also believed Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.

“Mrs. Spencer did not come to Washington, DC with the intention of destroying democracy,” Orenburg wrote. She came “to peacefully protest what was considered a fraudulent election at the time.”

A prosecutor said Virginia Spencer “felt she was starting a great effort as a citizen’s representative.”

“She couldn’t have been more wrong,” the prosecutor wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.