A federal judge sentenced two Kentucky men Thursday who entered the U.S. Capitol twice during last year's deadly Jan. 6 riot to three years of probation along with 15 days of "intermittent confinement."
Dalton Ray Crase and Troy Dylan Williams, two friends living in Lexington at the time of their arrests, were initially charged a few weeks after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection with entering a restricted building or grounds, entering restricted grounds with the intent to impede government business, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, picketing on Capitol grounds and aiding or abetting a crime against the U.S. government.
Crase, 22, and Williams, 26, eventually each pleaded guilty under a plea deal to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, a class B misdemeanor that many other Jan. 6 defendants have faced that is punishable by up to six months in prison.
For both men, federal prosecutors sought 30 days in jail, three years of probation, 60 hours of community service and $500 in restitution.
Judge Carl J. Nichols, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, sentenced each man to the requested three years of probation, 60 hours of community service and $500 in restitution.
Nichols added 15 days of intermittent confinement, to be served in jail or a halfway house over five weekends, noting the men "engaged in more serious conduct than other defendants who I have given just probation to" but also took responsibility for their actions and did not directly assault any officers inside the Capitol.
Attorneys told the judge they would seek more clarity on whether the men will serve the 15 days consecutively or over five different weekends, with Nichols setting a Jan. 20 hearing to sort out the matter.
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A.J. Kramer, one of the public defenders for Crase, had requested two years of probation, a $500 restitution payment and 60 hours of community service for his client.
Dwight E. Crawley, the private attorney for Williams, asked for a year of probation, a $500 fine and 60 hours of community service.
Some of the videos of the mob chanting and clashing with officers at the Capitol last year were played during Thursday's hearing, with the two men appearing virtually.
The events were "exceptionally serious, and frankly, watching the videos that we watched today is a stark remind of how horrible a day and the events of that day were," said Nichols, who was nominated to the bench by Trump in 2019.
Five people died during and after the riot and over 100 officers were injured, though some have disputed linking all the deaths directly to the chaos.
At least four officers who defended the Capitol that day as the pro-Trump mob sought to disrupt the congressional certification of President Joe Biden's victory over Trump in the 2020 election also later died by suicide.
"He is gainfully employed. He is a father and soon to be husband," Crawley wrote of Williams in a memo ahead of Thursday's hearing, though he noted during the hearing the man could now struggle to marry his fiancé from Peru due to his legal trouble and visa issues. "...Mr. Williams has truly learned a lesson from this ordeal and has vowed to never engage in this type of behavior again."
Williams told the judge his actions brought "despair to the people I love" and that he pleaded for "mercy" in order to "take my life forward in a more positive" direction.
Crase said he was having difficulty speaking and directed Nichols to a letter he submitted to the court that expressed remorse for his actions.
"The events of January 6 cannot, and should not, be minimized," his attorney also wrote in a memo. "However, Mr. Crase was not the cause of January 6, nor was he in the classification of people that caused physical harm to the Capitol or others."
Since his arrest, Crase has expressed "deep remorse for his conduct" and "done a lot of soul-searching," moving on from pursuing a music career to instead secure a full-time job as a laborer at a metal craft company in Walton, the Northern Kentucky community where he also attended high school, Kramer added.
A criminal complaint said the two traveled by car to Washington with a third person, a witness not named in the complaint, and arrived at their hotel in Arlington, Virginia, just after midnight on Jan. 6, 2021.
In an interview with the FBI, Crase admitted he arrived at the Washington Monument area around 11:30 a.m. and listened to the end of Trump's speech to a large crowd.
He then met up with Williams and walked with the crowd toward the Capitol.
Crase said he saw barricades that had been knocked over and didn't see any police stopping folks from getting closer to the building. They both went into the building after the riots started, but Crase said he didn't take part in any violence.
Crase also told the FBI it was "dumb" for them to go in, and that it didn't register he might be breaking the law by being in the building, according to court records. He said if he were ever to go in again, he would get a "pass."
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Williams told the FBI he and Crase went inside the building after it was breached, but had no intention of going in until everyone was already inside, describing it as "herd mentality," according to the complaint.
Williams added he told Crase that they would leave if people start "fighting the cops and getting crazy," according to the complaint.
When asked, Williams told the FBI he, "to a degree," felt he wasn't doing anything wrong by being inside but did recall a conversation with two elderly men outside the Capitol who said they weren't going in because it would be a felony.
Tejpal Chawla, a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, said Crase and Williams were not seen physically assaulting any officers but that they knew "right from wrong" and still joined a mob inside the Capitol that featured others who used violence against law enforcement.
While inside the Capitol the second time, prosecutors said video revealed how Williams told Crase the riot was intended as a message to those opposed to the mob.
It was "just to let them know that when push comes to shove, we will fight," Williams told Crase, who agreed, according to prosecutors. "We will just walk into this b****...this is a taste, and if things don’t change, we’ll make a change."
Crase also took numerous selfies while inside the Capitol and even lit a cigarette, prosecutors added.
Crase's brother, Deekon Duvall, previously said his sibling's arrest came as a complete surprise.
“It was a huge shock,” Duvall said last year. “He’s never done anything to harm somebody. He’s a pretty nice, humble dude.”
“Right after, he texted me,” Duvall added, “and he was like, ‘Dude I don’t know what I just did. This is not good. Don’t like, keep it on the low. I feel like I’m going to get in big, big trouble for this.'"
Crase and Williams are among the 17 Kentuckians and over 700 total defendants from nearly every state to face charges in connection with the Jan. 6 riot, with a dozen Kentuckians still awaiting sentencing hearings.
As the one-year anniversary of the divisive day recently passed, a special U.S. House committee continues to investigate the attack and the role of Trump and his associates in stoking it.
Reach Billy Kobin at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: US Capitol riot: Kentucky men Dalton Crase, Troy Williams sentenced