WASHINGTON — A Donald Trump supporter who smashed a window to the Capitol with a tomahawk axe and threw projectiles at officers during the most brutal battle of the Capitol riot was sentenced to seven years in federal prison on Friday.
Shane Jenkins — who refers to himself as “Skullet” due to his shaved head and mullet — was found guilty of nine criminal counts in March, including felony civil disorder; obstruction of an official proceeding; assaulting, resisting or impeding and officer using a dangerous weapon; and destruction of government property.
The federal government had requested more than 19 years in federal prison, which would have been one of the longest sentences given in any Jan. 6 case. The longest sentence so far went to Enrique Tarrio, the former head of the Proud Boys, who received 22 years in federal prison last month after being convicted of seditious conspiracy in May.
Jenkins’ attorney called Jan. 6 “one of the saddest episodes in American history” and said there “remain many grifters out there who remain free to continue propagating the ‘great lie’ that Trump won the election, Donald Trump being among the most prominent.”
The government called Jenkins’ conduct “egregious” and said he “planned for violent insurrection long before his arrival” in D.C.
His “lack of remorse is extraordinary,” and he “thinks that political violence is acceptable,” Assistant U.S. Attorney David Perri argued in during the sentencing hearing on Friday.
“What happens if his preferred candidate gets convicted of something?” Perri asked, referencing the four pending criminal cases against former President Donald Trump, including one case unfolding in the same federal courthouse in D.C. where Jenkins was sentenced. “How would he react?”
Perri encouraged the judge not to “roll the dice with this country’s democratic future.”
Attorney Dennis Boyle said during the hearing that Trump promoted “a legal fiction” that Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the election results, and that people like Jenkins were “particularly susceptible” to Trump’s lies and propaganda.
Before his sentencing, Jenkins talked about his troubled childhood and said his life began to come apart when he learned he was adopted. He said he tried destroying himself with drugs and alcohol after he killed his stepdad in a gunfight when he was 20 years old. (Jenkins said he shot his stepfather in self-defense, and was not charged.)
The Justice Department also said that Jenkins took part in an attack on Jan. 6 defendant Taylor Taranto — who was arrested outside of former President Barack Obama’s home — on July 10, when a dozen inmates allegedly entered the television room of their pod and assaulted Taranto “because Taranto had been saying derogatory things about Ashli Babitt and her mother.” Taranto was ordered held in pretrial detention.
In the 33 months since the Capitol attack, more than 1,100 participants have been arrested, and about 660 have received sentences, including nearly 400 who have received sentences of incarceration.
Ryan J. Reilly is a justice reporter for NBC News.