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Tuesday, July 16, 2024 | Back issues
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Paul Pelosi hammer attacker sentenced to 30 years in prison

DePape broke into former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's home and intended to kidnap her in October 2022.

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — The man convicted of breaking into former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home in October 2022 and fracturing her husband Paul’s skull with a hammer will serve 30 years in prison following a sentencing Friday morning.

David DePape was found guilty of attempting to kidnap a federal official and assaulting the family member of a federal official in a brief November trial. He said he intended to kidnap Nancy Pelosi and “break her kneecaps," and when he found out she wasn’t home, he took Paul Pelosi hostage before striking him three times on the head with a hammer when police arrived. The 12-member jury deliberated for a little more than a day before convicting him.

During sentencing, the Pelosis’ daughter, Christine, read victim impact statements from Paul and Nancy Pelosi.

“Ever since the defendant violently broke into my home and woke me up yelling ‘where’s Nancy?' on Oct. 22, 2022, my life has irrevocably changed,” Paul Pelosi wrote in his statement. 

He said his head and hand injuries continue to affect his life; he suffers from headaches and cannot use his left hand for simple actions.

When he learned Nancy wasn’t home, Paul wrote, DePape “made me take the punishment with a vicious assault.”

Nancy Pelosi’s statement asked the judge to impose a “very long sentence."

“Even now, 18 months after the home invasion and assault, the signs of blood and break-in are impossible to avoid. Our home remains a heartbreaking crime scene,” Nancy Pelosi wrote.

She added that Paul continues to suffer symptoms like fainting spells that have caused him to fall on numerous occasions, requiring further medical treatment.

Laura Vartain, a government prosecutor, called the attack “raw violence.”

“This truly is an act of domestic terrorism,” she said.

Angela Chuang, DePape’s public defender, sought a sentence of 14 years because DePape had no criminal history. She said he was mentally unstable when he committed the assault, was sorry for his actions and was unlikely to hurt anyone again.

“It’s not something he wants to do again," she said. "It’s not something he had ever done before.”

U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley weighed DePape’s criminal history but said that he failed to show remorse after the crime; he even went so far as to call a TV station and say he was “sorry he didn’t get more of them.”

Prosecutors were seeking a maximum of 40 years in prison for DePape’s crimes. 

“It sounds like he’s taunting his victims. Actually he’s taunting America,” Corley said.

The Biden-appointed judge added that DePape had multiple opportunities to leave the home once he realized Nancy Pelosi wasn’t there, but instead kept Paul Pelosi hostage before hitting him “full force” with the hammer.

She said the attack could lead to Americans not entering public service because of fear of copycat crimes. “Because of that, we will never know what we’ve lost because of this crime,” Corley said.

DePape admitted to the attack but pleaded not guilty. During the trial, he testified tearfully in his own defense and said he'd spent most of his days in a Richmond garage playing video games and listening to right-wing podcasts from Tim Pool and James Lindsay that espoused right-wing conspiracies about schools being “molestation factories.”

DePape said he believed Pelosi was a part of a cabal of elites controlling the country, indoctrinating children and trampling on the rights of Americans. He said Pelosi and other progressive politicians smeared former President Donald Trump during the 2016 election.

DePape, a Canadian national, will be deported when he is released from prison. He is also facing charges in a state case; jury selection is next week, with trial to follow shortly after.

Categories / Criminal, Politics

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