WASHINGTON (CN) — A federal judge ordered prison time Thursday for a married couple from North Carolina and their friend who breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, entered the office of then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and rifled through desks in the Senate chamber.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly gave the longest sentence, a term of 41 months, to Dale Shalvey, who assaulted an officer outside the Capitol, stole and destroyed a letter written by Republican Senator Mitt Romney, and lied to FBI agents.
Shalvey made no attempt to explain his actions to the Trump-appointed Kelly, only expressing disappointment in what he did.
“I’m guilty, your honor, and I pray for my sins,” said Shalvey, who was a resident of Bentleyville, Pennsylvania, at the time of the attempted insurrection.
Tara Shalvey — she and Dale married after the riot and together have an infant daughter — received a much lighter sentence than her husband, due in part to her behavior at the Capitol and throughout the FBI’s investigation.
“She is consistently nonviolent all the way through,” said Myra Cause, Tara Shalvey's federal public defense attorney from North Carolina. “Even in her horrific actions on Jan. 6, she is nonviolent.”
Tara Shalvey received eight months in prison and two years of supervised release, with eight of those months on home detention. Judge Kelly ordered that Tara report to prison no later than Dec. 1, 2023.
Kelly decided to stagger the Shalveys' prison sentences so that the couple are not incarcerated at the same time, which would burden how they care for their child. Dale was ordered to begin his sentence no later than Aug. 1, 2024.
Video evidence presented by Justice Department attorney Anthony Franks shows the Shalveys making their way throughout the Capitol complex, all the way into the Senate chambers. They can both be seen wearing protective helmets inside the Capitol, with Tara Shalvey caped in a red flag printed with the words “Trump 2020 Keep America Great.”
Franks made the distinction between the two defendants, laying out multiple instances where Dale Shalvey had violent intent and actions, while his wife was guilty only of entering the building.
Police body-cam footage shows Dale Shalvey throwing an unidentified object at officers outside the Capitol. Later recordings show him finding and passing out zip-ties while banging on doors throughout the building and chanting, “defend the Constitution, defend our liberty.”
Kelly highlighted this moment specifically regarding the severity of Dale Shalvey’s crimes, contrasting his intentions against those of his wife and their friend, Katharine Morrison, who also was sentenced Thursday.
“It’s chilling for me to think what was going through his mind when he found them,” Kelly said.
Both the Shalveys and Morrison pleaded guilty on Oct. 3, and the judge emphasized the severity of their crimes. "You all played a role, in one way or the other, in what happened that day," Kelly said before his ruling. "There wasn't anything patriotic about it. … It really was a national disgrace."
Kelly gave Morrison a lighter sentence, as well, in consideration of her two young children. The Dansville, New York, resident was sentenced to eight months in prison and two years of parole, eight months of which can be on house arrest.
In her remarks to the judge, Morrison expressed her regret over her actions and questioned why she became swept up in the unrest over the 2020 election.
“What really bothers me so deeply about why I’m here today is that I should never have left home that day," Morrison said.
The Justice Department has charged more than 1,000 people to date in connection with the Capitol riot. As of last month, approximately 541 people have pleaded guilty and 445 have been sentenced.
Nearly 140 police officers — 73 of them Capitol Police officers and 65 of them Metropolitan Police — were assaulted during the Capitol riot. Five died as a result, one during the violence and four more from suicide in the subsequent months.
The FBI investigation is still ongoing, with 250 people who assaulted police officers still unidentified.
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