WASHINGTON — A Tennessee man who was just feet away when the U.S. Capitol was first breached on Jan. 6 was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation.
Bryan Wayne Ivey, of Tennessee, can be seen in footage from the Capitol riot standing next to a man prosecutors have identified has Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola while the latter used a stolen riot shield to smash a window. Ivey himself then climbed in through the window, becoming the 14th rioter to enter the Capitol. Afterward, he helped other rioters enter the building through a nearby door.
On Wednesday, Ivey appeared virtually before U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper for sentencing. Prosecutors asked for him to serve 14 days behind bars along with 36 months of probation. Assistant U.S. attorney Leslie Goemaat said Ivey should get credit for being one of the first riot defendants to plead guilty. She also said his early efforts to seek mental health treatment after the riot showed his genuine remorse.
Ivey’s attorney, Robert David Baker, told Cooper his client was prone to “conspiratorial thinking.” He believed on Jan. 6 that unseen powers were attempting to remove former President Donald Trump from power. Ivey himself told Cooper he was deeply caught up in paranoia and delusion when he went to the Capitol.
“I genuinely believed, in every fiber of my being, that there was a global secret state that was plotting to kill off the majority of the human population,” Ivey said.
Ivey said he’d sought mental health treatment within two days of the riot. He also said he’d spent months recovering from injuries sustained when he was crushed by the mob in a doorframe on Jan. 6.
“I can guarantee the court I won’t ever be involved in something like this again,” Ivey said. “I’m taking the steps and doing the work to make sure it won’t ever happen.”
Because Ivey pleaded guilty to a Class “B” misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, Cooper said he wasn’t going to given him a split sentence – i.e. both jail time and probation – since the D.C. Circuit has not weighed in on whether that’s permissible. Instead, he ordered Ivey to serve 60 days of home detention as part of a three-year probationary sentence. He also ordered him to submit to regular drug testing and to continue to receive mental health treatment.
“I don’t punish people for what they believe, but it’s clear to me the beliefs that brought you to D.C. were very destructive and dangerous,” Cooper said.
Cooper also ordered Ivey to return for a probation status hearing in a year so he could check up on him. He told him to “keep your head down” and to try to put the riot and his arrest behind him.
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