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A Capitol rioter’s sentencing was halted when his mother pleaded for clemency with the judge.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton sentenced 21-year-old Aiden Bilyard to 40 months in prison. Billard, who turned 18 on January 6, 2021, traveled to Washington DC from North Carolina with two other friends, according to The Charlotte Observer.
Billard reached a plea deal with the prosecution after he admitted in October to assaulting police with a deadly or dangerous weapon when he sprayed Capitol officers with “pepper gel.” I faced 46 to 57 months in prison.
His mother Amy Bilyard told the judge ‘it’s not right’ as he handed down the sentence, according to Policy journalist Kyle Cheney. Judge Walton’s response to Mrs Billyard, who was in tears, was: “You make your bed, you have to lie in it.”
“He lied,” Ms Billyard reportedly said.
According to documents from justice department. He left the Capitol when he heard about assault rifles from other rioters.
He then returned to his hometown of North Carolina that night.
The FBI interviewed Billard in 2021 but he denied participating in the insurgency, although he was confronted with video evidence, according to the observer. He was arrested later that year while receiving basic training in Texas, and later discharged from the Air Force.
Billard’s attorneys had asked the judge for house arrest and five years probation. They argued that Billard was young and impressive when he took part in the January 6 riots.
“Eighteen is old enough to know right from wrong,” the judge said before sentencing on Friday, according to the Observer. “…(P)see this kind of violence, police officers fighting for their lives…yet you can’t think at some point that ‘This is not right, and I have to stop’ It’s just something that sends shivers down the spine and beyond paleness.
The defense also requested an evaluation by a forensic psychiatrist who found that Billard, who reportedly never met his father, saw Donald Trump as a “strong male figure”. They argued that the validation Bilyard received from the older rioters motivated him to join them in the uprising.
In a letter to Judge Walton, Ms Bilyard said her son was a ‘smart, warm and kind boy’ whose role in the riot was an exception to the way he had been brought up.
“He had never been violent. He had never considered other human beings. He has … always had respect for the police and their hard work,” she wrote.
Mother of Jan 6 rioter confronts judge as he’s sentenced to 40 months for spraying chemicals at police
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