A Jan. 6 defendant the Department of Justice described as a domestic terrorist was sentenced to 87 months in prison Monday, the longest sentence handed out to a Jan. 6 rioter so far.
Guy Reffitt, a 49-year-old man from Texas, was found guilty of five felonies by a federal jury in March, including transporting a firearm, bringing a firearm to a restricted area, and obstruction of justice after he threatened his children if they reported him to law enforcement.
He’ll also serve three years of supervised probation, during which time he’s prohibited from associating with extremist groups like the Texas Three Percenters, Oath Keepers and Texas Freedom Force.
Federal sentencing guidelines called for a prison sentence of between nine years and 11 years and three months, but the DOJ sought 15, casting Reffitt as a domestic terrorist in a court filing ahead of his sentencing ― a first for a Jan. 6 defendant.
“He didn’t just want President Trump to remain in office,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler told the judge Monday. “He wanted to physically and literally remove members of Congress from power. We believe he is a domestic terrorist.”
U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich wasn’t persuaded by the argument, however, and denied the terrorism enhancement, citing concerns about an “unwarranted sentencing disparity” compared to other Jan. 6 defendants who took plea deals instead of going to trial.
In a statement before his sentencing, Reffitt expressed contrition for the first time, having previously called himself a martyr and a patriot, and even reaffirmed his actions in a letter sent to the judge.
“I want to make multiple apologies,” he told the court, according to WUSA9 reporter Jordan Fischer. “I was, to put it colorfully, a fucking idiot.”
At his trial, federal prosecutors said Reffitt was a member of the Texas Three Percenters, an extremist militia group that was among the first waves of rioters to instigate violence on the west side of the Capitol Building.
As evidence, they played a video of Reffitt attending a Zoom meeting with other members following the riot where he bragged about enduring “clay bullets” and being “bear sprayed” amid the violence, and telling one of the police officers who tried to repel him, “Sorry, darling, you better get a bigger damn gun.”
In another video, filmed by a camera mounted on Reffitt’s helmet, he can be heard urging on others in the crowd.
“I didn’t come here to play games. I’m taking the Capitol with everybody fucking else,” he says at one point. “We’re all going to drag them motherfuckers out kicking and screaming. I don’t give a shit. I just want to see [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi’s head hit every fucking stair on the way out.”
Reffitt’s son, Jackson Reffitt, told jurors during the trial that his father threatened to shoot him and his 16-year-old sister if they tipped off the FBI about his involvement in the violence that day.
“If you turn me in, you’re a traitor and you know what happens to traitors ... traitors get shot,” he allegedly said.
Jackson Reffitt had reported his father to the FBI before the riot, having grown concerned by his increasingly radical, anti-government statements.
“There were clearly signs he was getting involved with a lot of different people and a lot of bad people,” Jackson Reffitt told ABC News.
“Hearing my father was there ― it was absolutely disgusting,” he said. “And pretty much demoralizing. And I really lost all respect for him in that moment.”
In a letter read at the sentencing Monday, Jackson Reffitt expressed concern for his father’s mental health, saying he’s “slowly lost himself over the years” and “fallen into a horrible community to find a place in this life.”