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Pitchfork-Wielding Capitol Rioter Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison

A Capitol rioter who came to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, wielding a pitchfork and then clashed with officers throughout the day was sentenced to 70 months in prison on Tuesday, Courthouse News reports. As U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly passed down the nearly six-year sentence to Christopher Roe, she warned that the lawlessness Roe and the other rioters participated in will only spark further lawlessness. “Overthrowing the government is not the way you preserve democracy,” she said. 

Roe, 39, traveled from Kansas to Washington equipped with the pitchfork, a six-inch knife, duct tape and zip ties. He assaulted three police officers both outside the Capitol and within, despite being forcefully removed from the building three times. In a short statement before the court on Tuesday, Roe apologized and said he was ready to accept responsibility for his actions. Stephen Moss, Roe's public defender, requested that Roe be sentenced to 12 months and one day, as he had been manipulated into joining the insurrection by people including former President Donald Trump who spread false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen. Kollar-Kotelly’s sentencing decision comes after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that Jan. 6 defendants' sentences had been improperly lengthened by federal judges applying a sentencing enhancement for interfering with the administration of justice. The decision could impact over 100 Jan. 6 defendants’ sentences, and could provide a track for them to challenge and demand sentence reductions. 


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