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WASHINGTON — Fort Walton Beach resident Timothy Earl O'Malley was ordered Tuesday to serve two years on probation for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the United States Capitol.
O'Malley had agreed in November to plead guilty to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a capitol building. Prosecutors had asked that he spend 45 days under house arrest and three years on probation.
O'Malley was taken into custody June 30, 2021, after two people who knew him told federal agents that he had been boasting in text messages of being inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 and showing off videos to bolster his claims.
One of those who went to authorities said the 63-year-old commercial fisherman had claimed to have ties to the Proud Boys right-wing activist group.
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In a sentencing memorandum filed ahead of Tuesday's sentencing, federal prosecutors called the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol complex "a violent attack that forced an interruption of the certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote count, threatened the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 Presidential election, injured more than one hundred police officers, and resulted in more than one million dollars of property damage."
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O'Malley had traveled by himself to Washington, D.C., ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, vote certification and attended rallies in opposition to it headlined by then-President Donald Trump. Urged on by Trump and others, O'Malley joined a march on the Capitol and followed protestors inside as Capitol police were overwhelmed by the mob.
Authorities argued a period of incarceration was justified in O'Malley's case because he had prepared for violence by bringing a softball helmet with a full facemask to Washington.
They also argued that he was at the front line of a group of rioters who beat back a line of police officers to obtain entrance into the Capitol, and was among a group of rioters who passed within inches of a door that led directly onto the Senate floor.
"O’Malley’s preparation for violence, his celebration and endorsement of the violence on that day, his lack of remorse, and his criminal history renders a sentence of incarceration both necessary and appropriate in this case," the sentencing memorandum said.
The memorandum also noted previous crimes committed by O'Malley, including multiple DUI's and battery.
Court documents showed the government was prepared at the hearing to introduce videos O'Mallley had taken inside the Capitol, including a "selfie-style video of himself" in the Senate reception room yelling “We took the capitol. We're moving on to other floors now. Whoo. Our House."
Defense attorneys argued for a probated sentence for their client. They said in their own pre-sentencing memorandum that the helmet O'Malley wore was for his own protection.
"During the time leading up to the election and afterwards at the Trump rallies there were fears among many of the Trump attendees that they would be attacked or harmed by the Antifa groups throwing rocks, pieces of concrete or other debris at the rally participants," they wrote in the memorandum seeking a probated sentence.
The defense memorandum argued O'Malley had not physically confronted Capitol police or other law enforcement officials, did not engage in violence, did not destroy property and did not publish photos of himself on social media. It argued that he had been straightforward with investigators and shown remorse for his crimes.
O'Malley was the second Okaloosa County resident to be arrested for participating in the Jan. 6 riot and the first to be sentenced. Niceville resident Andrew Griswold, who was arrested on March 5, 2021, pleaded guilty last month to one charge of civil disorder. Sentencing in his case is scheduled for July.
This article originally appeared on Northwest Florida Daily News: Fort Walton Beach man will serve probation for his role in Jan. 6 Capitol riot