Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Thursday, February 22, 2024
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, February 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Six Capitol rioters sentenced, one receives prison time

Five Capitol rioters received probationary sentences on Friday, while one received 45 days in prison. 

WASHINGTON (CN) — A Houston police officer and devout Buddhist who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 was sentenced to 45 days in prison on Friday morning — the only prison sentence given out in a day jam-packed with sentences related to the insurrection. 

Tam Dinh Pham, who was turned into FBI agents by his own police chief, should have known better, prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly on Friday. 

Kelly agreed, noting that Pham violated his sworn duties to uphold the constitution. 

Five other Capitol rioters were also sentenced on Friday but only received probationary sentences.

One, who took a beer out of a fridge in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, received 24 months of probation. His defense attorney told U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden that Andrew Ericson, a 24-year-old from Oklahoma, was very young and impressionable, and likely would have not committed the same offense if he was a few years older. 

McFadden noted that, because Ericson went inside Pelosi’s office, it put him in a different category than other Capitol rioters who were in an open area of the Capitol. 

“Your remorse is less than I would have hoped for,” McFadden said, noting that Ericson failed to check in with his pretrial services officer several times. 

Brandon Nelson and Abram Markofski, who drove through the night from Wisconsin to Washington and then drove back after the riot, were also sentenced to 24 months' probation on Friday. 

“I just want to express how sorry I am for being a part of the breach," Nelson told U.S. District Judge John Bates. "I want to say I'm sorry to the families of anyone affected by the violence, obviously particularly law enforcement, and I know there is an officer who took his life in the aftermath of that. That doesn't make me feel very good."

Later on Friday, Felipe Marquez, who hung out with a group of rioters in Senator Jeff Merkley’s office on Jan. 6, was sentenced to 18 months of probation. In the government’s sentencing memo, prosecutors noted that Marquez repeatedly asked Capitol police officers for selfies and fist bumps. He also told FBI agents that “he was in the bathroom pooping when the violence occurred,” and he “didn’t see any violence at all.”

Marquez's defense attorney noted that their client has severe mental health issues, and he thought that he was going to the riot to protest communism. 

“I was confused about why a lot of people were there,” Marquez said. “I didn’t understand that people were going into the building to try to stop the certifications. I didn’t realize the extent of my mental health issues. I want to get help for this.”

Spurred on by former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of election fraud, a mob of his supporters broke into the halls of the U.S. government on Jan. 6 as a ceremony to certify the 2020 election results was underway. Trump later was a no-show at President Joe Biden's inauguration.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras told Marquez that he needed to take a much harder look at himself, with the guidance of a medical professional. 

Lastly, Nicholas Reimler, was sentenced to 36 months of probation. Reimler, who wore a white Trump flag as a cape and posted a number of videos to Snapchat, told U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss that the attack on the Capitol “should have never happened.”

"I want to say I'm sincerely sorry for being in and around the Capitol building that day," Reimler said. “I'm sorry for the United States Capitol police officers who should have never had to defend lawmakers and their staff in the fashion they had to. I'm sorry to the 100-plus police officers who were injured and to the families of the numerous officers who tragically passed away stemming from the horrendous events of that day. And I'm sorry to the people of this country for threatening the democracy that makes this country so great.”

Categories / Criminal, National, Politics

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.