Defendant Alan W. Byerly, 55, told Judge Randolph D. Moss in U.S. District Court in Washington: “I regret that I let my emotions take over. Upside, I’m terribly disappointed.” “But make no mistake: this is not an excuse for me to get my hands on anyone. …I’m a hostile bastard and I still don’t understand why I’m doing this.”
Byerley, a divorced father and grandfather who lost his carpentry job during the pandemic, said he was experiencing “depression, depression and isolation” when he traveled to Washington for President Donald Trump’s demagoguery rallies “. 6 On the Oval, Trump reiterated his debunked claim that rampant voter fraud caused him to lose the 2020 election.
Byerley said he carried a corona device ‘for protection’ and then joined thousands of Trump as thugs stormed the Capitol as Congress met to confirm Joe Biden’s presidential victory ranks of supporters. Later, in the months leading up to his arrest in July 2021, Byerley said, “I feel very sad about this riot,” “I wouldn’t even tell the closest people in my life about January 6. things of the day”.
In court documents, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington said Byerley, who was not charged with entering the Capitol, was on the lower west side of the building when rioters accosted an Associated Press photographer and dragged him down the stairs. on the terrace.
“At the bottom of the stairs, [Byerly] and three others grabbed the reporter and pushed, pushed, and pulled him,” the office said in a statement. “Byerley grabbed the reporter with both hands and pushed him back. He then continued to push him off the stairs. “
The journalist “was not injured and informed the government that he did not want to be involved in the investigation into the matter,” court documents show. Prosecutors said that shortly after that attack, Byerley got into a scuffle with police trying to stop thugs from breaking into the building.
As Byerley pleaded guilty to two charges — assaulting a police officer and assaulting a photojournalist — Moss dismissed six other charges in the indictment on Friday at the request of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The charges relate to Byerley’s unauthorized presence at the Capitol and disorderly conduct on restricted grounds.
Non-mandatory federal sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of 37 to 46 months in prison. While defense attorneys asked for a sentence of less than 37 months, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anita Eve recommended a 46-month sentence, saying: “The court should send a message that this behavior will not be taken lightly. . …This defendant needs to feel the consequences of his actions.”
Moss, who sided with the defense and imposed a 34-month term, said he was “impressed” with Byerley’s confessional statement. “It strikes me as sincere,” the judge said. Byerley has been in prison for 15 months since his arrest, and he has 19 months to serve.
Much of Friday’s court debate focused on the stun device that Byerley was carrying that day, whether it was a “dangerous weapon” and whether it should seriously affect his sentencing. Although the device is referred to as a “stun gun” in court documents, it is shaped more like a flashlight with two prongs at the end that must be pressed against someone’s skin to generate an electric charge.
Byerley, who admitted to brandishing the device during the riots but has not been accused of shocking anyone, said he bought it at a store for $25 before heading to Washington.
Defense attorneys said the device was fairly innocuous, producing only mild vibrations. “The stun gun he used on January 6 could not have caused serious injury and was therefore not a lethal or dangerous weapon,” attorney Hunter S. Labovitz argued in court. “You’ll feel some tingling in your skin…but it won’t incapacitate you.”
Prosecutor Eve admitted it was a “low energy” device but said Byerley “clearly created the impression in the minds of police officers that they could be stunned and incapacitated”.
Byerley, from Fleetwood, Pa., about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia, said he had never participated in a public protest before Jan. 1. 6 Looking forward to a peaceful, law-abiding life after prison.
“What I’ve learned during my 15 months in prison is that disagreements about politics should never lead to riots or violence,” he told the judge.