According to Fox News, a Florida man became the first person involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to be sentenced to prison on felony-level charges.
Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, from Tampa, Florida, was hit with an eight-month sentence for his role in the unfortunate events that transpired on the day of the riot. He pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding and was one of the rioters who entered the Senate floor. He was given a reduced sentence as he was determined to not be one of the organizers of the rioting event.
The felony charge he faced carried a maximum penalty of up to 20 years behind bars.
The judge explains
“Although you were only one member of a larger mob, you actively participated in a larger event that threatened the Capitol and democracy itself,” said U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss of Washington, according to NBC News.
“The damage that was caused that way was way beyond a several-hour delay of the vote certification. It is a damage that will persist in this country for several decades,” Moss added.
— The Hill (@thehill) July 19, 2021
Though prosecutors in the case pushed for a steeper sentence, hoping for at least 18 months, they acknowledged that Hodgkins made a sound decision by owning up to his actions early on and pleading guilty.
“I am truly remorseful”
According to People, Hodgkins said in a statement, “I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am truly remorseful and regretful for my actions, not because I face consequences but because of the damage that day’s incident caused and the way this country that I love has been hurt.”
“I realize that my involvement did still contribute to the greater problem that took place. The company of us who remained calmer in our protests may have made others feel emboldened,” Hodgkins added.
A report from The New York Times revealed that “authorities have arrested nearly 550 people in the Capitol attack, and as of late last week about 20 had entered guilty pleas.”
The Times added, “Only three defendants, including Mr. Hodgkins, have been sentenced, although more will follow this summer and into the fall.”
The issue will likely continue for some time as more of the suspects involved in the Capitol riot are processed through various court systems over the coming months and years.