Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola, who broke Capitol window with riot shield, sentenced to 10 years in prison

Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola, who broke Capitol window with riot shield, sentenced to 10 years in prison

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Capitol Breach Extremist Plots
FILE: In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, rioters, including Dominic Pezzola, center with police shield, are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. 

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP


Washington — Dominic Pezzola, a member of the far-right Proud Boys group who became one of the more recognizable faces of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack after video showed him smashing a Capitol window with a riot shield, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday.

Pezzola was convicted of numerous felony counts stemming from his involvement in the breach — including obstruction of an official proceeding and destruction of government property. Unlike his co-defendants, including Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, Pezzola was acquitted by a jury of the most severe charge of seditious conspiracy. 

Despite his acquittal on this charge, prosecutors asked federal Judge Timothy Kelly to sentence Pezzola to 20 years in prison, a request the judge denied during Friday’s hearing. 

Unlike Pezzola’s Proud Boys co-defendants Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl and Joseph Biggs, whom prosecutors characterized in a sentencing filing as leaders of the Jan. 6 mob, Pezzola was “an enthusiastic foot soldier” and one of the “most violent members on January 6, 2021.” 

He gathered with more than 100 members of the group including Nordean, Rehl and Biggs at the Washington Monument ahead of the Capitol attack and marched to the Capitol. According to evidence presented at trial, Pezzola then attacked law enforcement, stole a riot shield and used the shield to break a Capitol window before entering the building. 

In a selfie video he took from inside the Capitol Crypt during the attack, Pezzola proclaimed, “I knew we could take this motherf***** over if we just tried hard enough.”

Pezzola — one of only two of the five Proud Boys co-defendants to take the stand in his own defense — urged the court in his own sentencing memorandum to send him to prison for 5 years. 

“I’m taking the stand today to take responsibility for my actions on January 6,” he said from the stand during the month-long trial, but also looked to blame law enforcement for the violence that day. His attorneys argued during the trial that there had been no conspiracy among the group of Proud Boys. 

But as Pezzola walked out of courtroom after sentencing, he lifted his fist and yelled, “Trump won!”

Minutes earlier, nearly in tears, Pezzola told the judge he’d given up politics. His wife, daughter and mother were in the courtroom at the time, and each addressed the judge during Pezzola’s sentencing. 

Pezzola’s wife, Lisa Magee, said that her daughters “have become victims and harassment, bullying at school.” His daughter said, “Take a look at my father, and then take a look at me. I am everything good … I’m a college student, a scientist… I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink, and he contributed to that.” 

His mother called Pezzola “a wonderful child” and said he “never gave me any trouble.”  

Pezzola’s sentence comes just a day after Judge Kelly sentenced Biggs and Rehl to 17 and 15 years in prison respectively. Both men were found guilty of seditious conspiracy. 

Tarrio faces his sentencing Tuesday. 

Scott MacFarlane contributed to this report.

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