Pair Sentenced on Felony and Misdemeanors For Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Pair Sentenced on Felony and Misdemeanors For Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

            WASHINGTON – Two men – one from Virginia, one from Texas – were sentenced in the District of Columbia on felony and misdemeanor charges for their actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Their actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

            Luke Bender, 22, of Stafford, Virginia, and Landon Mitchell, 32, formerly of Arlington, Virginia now living in Texas, were sentenced to 21 months and 27 months, respectively, for obstruction of an official proceeding and five related misdemeanor charges. Judge Beryl A. Howell, who presided over the stipulated trial and returned the verdict on December 7, 2022, also ordered 36 months of supervised release and $2,000 restitution, for each defendant.

            According to the stipulated facts, on Jan. 6, 2021, Bender and Mitchell illegally entered the Capitol grounds, climbing scaffolding that had been erected for the inauguration. At about 2:45 p.m., they entered the Capitol Building through the Upper West Terrace Door. They proceeded through the Rotunda, down the East Front Corridor, through the Ohio Clock Corridor, down a hall, and into the Senate Chamber. They entered the Senate Floor at approximately 3:04 p.m. While on the Senate Floor, they reviewed documents sitting on tables. They also took “selfies” from the Senate floor, and each posed for pictures at the Senate dais. At approximately 3:08 p.m., U.S. Capitol Police officers directed the rioters to leave the Chamber. Bender and Mitchell exited the building at about 3:10 p.m.

            Both defendants later posted messages on social media boasting of their actions. On Jan. 7, 2021, for example, Mitchell posted, and Bender re-posted, an image of a skull surrounded by red smoke, with the caption, “Absolutely proud of my fellow Americans who made their voices heard at the Capitol.”

            Bender was arrested on July 29, 2021, in Fairfax, Virginia. Mitchell was arrested on Oct. 20, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia.

            This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

            The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.

            In the 27 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,000 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 320 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing. 

            Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.

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