Tuesday, February 7, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Prison for University of Kentucky student who stormed the Capitol

A woman who joined the melee only minutes after the rioter shot and killed by Capitol police was sentenced to one month behind bars.  

WASHINGTON (CN) — “Infamy is just as good as fame,” Gracyn Dawn Courtright posted to Instagram on Jan. 6 after joining a mob of extremists who breached security at the U.S. Capitol.

Eleven months later, at her sentencing for a misdemeanor related to those events, the 24-year-old spoke with considerably less aplomb.

“I’ve already hurt myself and my future more than I ever thought possible in 20 minutes,” Courtright tearfully told the court. Courtright, who had one semester left in her mathematical economics degree, had to withdraw from her classes, and now says that she experiences an overwhelming fear in her hometown. 

“I have so much shame from this. I hold my head down and don’t make eye contact with my neighbors,” Courtright said. “I will never be the same girl again.” 

U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper admonished the defendant that she could have been killed at the Capitol that day. 

“You entered at 2:40, Ashli Babbitt entered at 2:42,” Cooper told Courtright, referring to the California woman who was shot and killed as she clambered through a broken glass in the Capitol on Jan. 6. “That could have been you, if you had gone in a different door or through a different window.”

Courtright, who attempted to steal a “Members Only” sign near the Senate chambers on Jan. 6, left an extensive social media trail about her activities, posting that the riot had been peaceful, and that she “thought it was cool” because “it’s history.”

“Can’t wait to tell my grandkids I was here,” Courtright said on Instagram. “Infamy is just as good as fame. Either way I end up more known. XOXO.”

She pleaded guilty in August to a misdemeanor and was sentenced Friday to one month behind bars on Friday, skirting the six-month sentence that prosecutors recommended. 

Courtright told Cooper that she had been trying to defend herself from people who thought she was a “horrible person.”

“Now, I understand that I am a horrible person,” Courtright said. 

Cooper noted that he thought prosecutors overshot the mark by recommending six months in prison. Courtright was only 23 at the time of the riot and has expressed sincere remorse for her actions. 

Earlier on Friday, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton presided over the sentencing of a Capitol rioter who recorded a video of a mob climbing the inaugural scaffolding. “No one is going to steal our fucking election,” Tony Mariotto of Florida said over the footage.

Once inside the Capitol, Mariotto, from Florida, attempted to open multiple locked doors and yelled, “Where are the traitors?”

Walton sentenced him to three years of probation Friday, though prosecutors recommended four months in prison. 

“"I talk a lot. I trash talk sometimes,” Mariotto told Walton. “I was showing off, maybe.  I would never break down a door or hurt anybody.”

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Loading
Loading...