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Judge in Capitol riot case gives 63-month sentence, ties longest yet

A guy who attacked cops with poles through the riot at the U.S. Capitol was sentenced on Tuesday to a lot more than five years in prison, matching the longest term of imprisonment up to now among a huge selection of Capitol riot prosecutions.

Mark Ponder, a 56-year-old resident of Washington, D.C., said he got swept up in the chaos that erupted on Jan. 6, 2021, and didnt mean for just about any of this to occur.

I wasnt convinced that day, Mr. Ponder told U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, asking her for mercy before she sentenced him to five years and 90 days in prison.

That has been 90 days longer compared to the prison sentence requested by prosecutors. And its own exactly the same sentence that Judge Chutkan gave Robert Palmer, a Florida man who also pleaded guilty to assaulting police at the Capitol.

A lot more than 200 other Capitol riot defendants have already been sentenced up to now. None received an extended prison sentence than Mr. Ponder or Mr. Palmer.

Judge Chutkan said Mr. Ponder was leading the charge against cops trying to postpone the mob that disrupted Congress from certifying President Joe Bidens electoral victory.

This is simply not swept up, Mr. Ponder, she said. He was intent on attacking and injuring cops. This was not just a protest.

Judge Chutkan has consistently taken a difficult line in punishing Capitol rioters. She’s passed down terms of imprisonment to all or any 13 riot defendants who’ve come before her, matching or exceeding the Justice Departments sentencing recommendation atlanta divorce attorneys case, in accordance with an Associated Press overview of court public records.

Prosecutors had recommended a five-year prison sentence for Mr. Ponder, who has been jailed since his arrest in March 2021.

In April, Mr. Ponder pleaded guilty to an assault charge punishable by way of a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Federal sentencing guidelines needed a prison term which range from nearly five years to slightly below six years, but Judge Chutkan wasnt bound by those recommendations.

A lot more than 100 cops were injured through the riot.

Defense attorney Joseph Conte said Mr. Ponder was swept up in the madness that has been January 6. Mr. Conte asked for a sentence below the rules range.

Mr. Ponder swung a pole at a Capitol officer on the Capitols West Plaza, breaking it contrary to the officers shield. After retreating in to the crowd, Mr. Ponder grabbed a sturdier pole colored in red, white, and blue stripes. He used it to assault two other officers, hitting one of these in the left shoulder, before police detained and handcuffed him.

Outnumbered officers released Mr. Ponder since they couldnt get yourself a police vehicle to move him. They told him to leave the Capitol, but Mr. Ponder stayed and joined a mob of rioters clashing with police at a tunnel.

Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, among the officers assaulted by Mr. Ponder, said the force of Mr. Ponders blow shattered his shield.

It had been horrific, Mr. Gonell said during Mr. Ponders sentencing hearing. That one day will impact me for the others of my entire life.

After his arrest, Mr. Ponder told FBI agents he typically supports police but viewed the officers within the problem that day.

Sooner or later in time, just how this country is certainly going, you gonna need to select a side, he said, in accordance with prosecutors.

Mr. Ponder attended the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6 to listen to then-President Donald Trumps speech also to peacefully protest the outcomes of the election and having less focus on alleged voting irregularities, Mr. Conte wrote in a court filing.

He did so without intent to accomplish not add his voice to the vocal protests on the injustice he perceived had happened in the election, the attorney added. Unfortunately, he got swept up in the riotous atmosphere of the crowd and erroneously perceived the authorities as standing in the form of the crowds need to protest the election results.

Mr. Ponder includes a substantial criminal history spanning three decades, including a 2008 conviction for bank robbery, in accordance with prosecutors.

A lot more than 840 folks have been charged with federal crimes for his or her conduct at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Over 350 riot defendants have pleaded guilty or been convicted by way of a jury or perhaps a judge after trials.

A lot more than 220 of these have already been sentenced, including approximately 100 who received a term of imprisonment. Mr. Ponder may be the 15th to be sentenced to a prison term exceeding twelve months.

The prison sentences for Mr. Ponder and Mr. Palmer might not be the lengthiest for a lot longer. Prosecutors would like a 15-year prison sentence for Guy Reffitt, a Texas man who was simply convicted of storming the Capitol with a holstered handgun. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich is scheduled to sentence Mr. Reffitt on Monday.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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