Jacob Chansley, the spear-carrying Jan. 6 rioter whose horned fur hat, bare chest and face paint made him one of the more recognizable figures in the assault on the Capitol, was sentenced Wednesday to 41 months in prison.
Chansley, who pleaded guilty to a felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding, was among the first rioters to enter the building. He has acknowledged using a bullhorn to rile up the mob, offering thanks in a prayer while in the Senate for having the chance to get rid of traitors and scratching out a threatening note to Vice President Mike Pence saying, “It’s Only A Matter of Time. Justice Is Coming!"
Though he isn’t accused of violence, prosecutors say Chansley, of Arizona, was the “public face of the Capitol riot” who went into the attack with a weapon, ignored repeated police orders to leave the building and gloated about his actions in the days immediately after the attack.
Before he was sentenced, Chansley told U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth it was wrong for him to enter the Capitol and that he accepts responsibility for his actions. He emphasized he wasn’t an insurrectionist and is troubled with the way he was portrayed in news stories in the aftermath of the riot.
“I have no excuse,” Chansley said. “No excuses whatsoever. My behavior is indefensible.”
The judge said Chansley’s remorse appeared to be genuine but noted the seriousness of his actions in the Capitol. “What you did was terrible,” Lamberth said. “You made yourself the center of the riot."
The image of Chansley holding a flagpole topped with a spear tip and looking as if he were howling was one of the most striking to emerge from the riot. He previously called himself the “QAnon Shaman” but has since repudiated the QAnon movement, which is centered on the baseless belief that former President Donald Trump was fighting a cabal of Satan-worshipping, child sex trafficking cannibals.
He is among 650 people charged in the riot that forced lawmakers into hiding as they were meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. More than 120 defendants have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanor charges of demonstrating in the Capitol that carry a maximum of six months in prison.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.