Enrique Tarrio's Day of Reckoning: A Historic Sentence in January 6th Cases
Written by: Bonnie Chapman and Ismael Barrios
WASHINGTON, DC - In the sweltering 97-degree heat of Washington, D.C., a historic moment was unfolding. Cyclists rode by, enjoying the Tuesday weather that seemed, to the casual observer, like a perfect day. Onlookers mingled, watching media vans roll in and discussing the day's significant event. Reporters stood outside the federal courthouse, awaiting the outcome of what would become the longest sentencing related to the January 6th insurrection.
In a notable departure from other cases, Enrique Tarrio received a 22-year sentence, with the second-longest being 18 years. Although barred from entering D.C., Tarrio had orchestrated the Capitol attack from a hotel room in Baltimore. Reports suggest that he even claimed full responsibility for the assault, watching as it unfolded and irrevocably changed numerous lives.
Tragically, several individuals lost their lives on that fateful day. Ashli Babbit, a military veteran, was fatally shot by Capitol Police. Kevin Greeson died of a heart attack, later found to have also suffered an overdose. Rosanne Boyland was trampled in a stampede, while Benjamin Philips succumbed to a stroke. In addition, five police officers who bravely defended the Capitol also lost their lives. Officer Brian D. Sicknick, attacked by the mob, later died of a series of strokes linked to the chaos. Officers Jeffrey Smith and Howard Liebengood took their own lives in the days following the riot, as did officers Gunther Hashida and Kyle Defreytag.
Tarrio's defense team quickly announced plans to appeal the sentence. Initially, they had sought a maximum of 15 years. Before delivering the sentence, the presiding judge, Timothy Kelly of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, issued a thorough statement highlighting how Tarrio's actions had not only undermined democratic principles but had also caused harm that would require significant time and effort to repair.
The defense described Tarrio as a "misguided patriot," a characterization the judge found unpersuasive, especially in light of terrorism-related adjustments to the case. Had both parties adhered to sentencing guidelines, Tarrio could have faced between 27 and 34 years in prison.
Members of the Tarrio family, including his sisters and brother-in-law, spoke during the proceedings. They acknowledged Enrique's flaws but also reminded the court of human imperfections. Emotions ran high; Tarrio's sister teared up on the stand, and his mother implored the judge to consider factors beyond politics when determining the sentence.
For his part, Tarrio expressed remorse, labeling the January 6th event a "national embarrassment." He admitted to being misled by his own beliefs and by the influence of others. In a pre-written statement, Tarrio apologized to legislators and law enforcement, vowing to disassociate himself from any political activities, groups, or rallies in the future.
Before announcing the sentence, the judge noted that Tarrio's absence from the Capitol on January 6 was a calculated move but cited his previous lack of remorse as a reason to question the sincerity of his current statements. Tarrio left the courthouse flashing a peace sign, a jarring contrast to the immense harm he had caused through orchestrating the violent attack.