'A Class of His Own': North Texas Capitol Rioter Guy Reffitt Sentenced to 87 Months in Prison

The FBI field office in Dallas has already arrested nearly 40 people accused of participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The FBI field office in Dallas has already arrested nearly 40 people accused of participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Win McNamee/Getty Images
Guy Reffitt had traveled from Wylie to D.C., brought a gun and plastic handcuffs and joined rioters outside the U.S. Capitol with hopes of keeping former President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

Now, he’s headed to federal prison for more than seven years.

In March, a jury convicted Reffitt on five felony charges related to the Capitol riot that took place on Jan. 6, 2021. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich sentenced the North Texan to 87 months in prison, the longest stint yet for those convicted in connection with the riot.

"He is in a class of his own so far as I’m aware in terms of what he was doing there that day, and what he claimed what he was there to do," Friedrich said, adding that Reffitt had played a "central role" in the day's events.

"In democracy, we respect a peaceful transfer of power." – U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich

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Among the charges Reffitt was convicted of were bringing a gun to the Capitol grounds and obstructing an official proceeding, according to Reuters. The U.S. government had pushed for a 15-year sentence with terrorism enhancement.

“In democracy, we respect a peaceful transfer of power," Friedrich said before delivering the sentence. “The election was challenged in multiple courts across the country, and judge after judge said there's no merit to these claims.”

Reffitt's lawyer, Clint Broden, told the Observer by email: "While we had hoped for a lesser sentence, we were pleased that she rejected the draconian terrorism enhancement sought by the government and that she ultimately imposed a sentence of imprisonment of less than half the sentence sought by the government."

More than 880 people have been charged with offenses related to the riot, during which Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, fought with police officers and attempted to prevent the certification of the November 2020 presidential election results.

Of those charged, more than 300 have entered guilty pleas. Charges range from misdemeanor offenses to felonies.

At least 74 of those charged are residents of Texas, according to Sedition Tracker, a website that documents charges and convictions related to the Jan. 6 events.

Of that total, at least 39 were cases investigated by the FBI’s Dallas office, spokesperson Katherine Chaumont said by phone Monday afternoon.

Reffitt’s son first told the FBI that his father had been at the riot not long after it happened. Reffitt had also threatened to shoot his son and his 16-year-old daughter if they turned him in, his son testified during his trial.
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Patrick Strickland is the news editor at the Dallas Observer. He's a former senior reporter at Al Jazeera English and has reported for the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, Politico EU and The New Republic, among others.