WASHINGTON — One in all three active-duty Marines who stormed the U.S. Capitol collectively was sentenced on Monday to probation and 279 hours of neighborhood service — one hour for each Marine who was killed or wounded preventing within the Civil Battle.
U.S. District Decide Ana Reyes mentioned she will’t fathom why Dodge Hellonen violated his oath to guard the Structure “towards all enemies, international and home” — and risked his profession — by becoming a member of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot that disrupted Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.
“I actually urge you to consider why it occurred so you possibly can tackle it and guarantee it by no means occurs once more,” Reyes mentioned.
Dodge Hellonen, now 24, was the primary of the three Marines to be punished for collaborating within the Capitol siege. Reyes is also scheduled to condemn co-defendants Micah Coomer on Tuesday and Joshua Abate on Wednesday.
The three Marines — pals from the identical unit — drove collectively from a army put up in Virginia to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, when then-President Donald Trump spoke at his “Cease the Steal” rally close to the White Home. They joined the group that stormed the Capitol after Trump urged his supporters to “combat like hell.”
Earlier than imposing Hellonen’s sentence, Reyes described how Marines fought and died in a number of the fiercest battles in American historical past. She recited the variety of casualties from a number of the bloodiest wars.
Prosecutors beneficial brief phrases of incarceration — 30 days for Coomer and 21 days for Hellonen and Abate — together with 60 hours of neighborhood service.
A prosecutor wrote in a court docket submitting that their army service, whereas laudable, makes their conduct “all of the extra troubling.”
Reyes mentioned she agreed with prosecutors that Hellonen’s standing as an active-duty Marine doesn’t weigh in favor of a extra lenient sentence. However she in the end determined to spare him from a jail time period, sentencing him to 4 years of probation.
Reyes mentioned it “carried a substantial amount of weight” to be taught that Hellonen maintained a constructive perspective and stellar work ethic when he was successfully demoted after the Jan. 6 assault. He went from working as a indicators analyst to a job that few Marines need, inventorying army gear.
“The one one that may give you a second probability is your self,” she advised him.
“I take full accountability for my actions and I’ll carry this with me for the remainder of my life,” Hellonen advised the choose.
Hellonen, Coomer and Abate pleaded responsible earlier this yr to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol constructing, a misdemeanor punishable by a most of six months behind bars. Lots of of Capitol rioters have pleaded responsible to the identical cost, which is akin to trespassing.
Hellonen was carrying a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag after they entered the Capitol by means of a door that different rioters had breached about seven minutes earlier.
After strolling to the Rotunda, they positioned a pink “Make America Nice Once more” hat on a statute and took pictures of it. They remained contained in the Capitol for practically an hour, becoming a member of different rioters in chanting “Cease the Steal!” and “4 Extra Years!”
None of them is accused of partaking in any violence or destruction on Jan. 6. However prosecutors mentioned none of them has expressed honest regret for his or her crimes.
Coomer bragged on social media about participating in “historical past,” known as for a “recent begin” and mentioned he was “ready for the boogaloo,” a slang time period for a second civil struggle within the U.S.
Coomer’s assertion that he was “hoping for a second civil struggle to topple what he seen as a ‘corrupt’ authorities was deeply ominous, provided that his army coaching and entry to army weapons would make him a very efficient participant in such a struggle towards the federal government,” the prosecutor wrote.
Greater than 600 folks have been sentenced for Capitol riot-related federal crimes. Over 100 of them have served within the U.S. army. in keeping with an Related Press evaluation of court docket data. Only some have been active-duty army or legislation enforcement personnel on Jan. 6.
On Jan. 18, 2023, legislation enforcement officers arrested Coomer at a army workplace in Oceanside, California; Abate at his house in Fort Meade, Maryland; and Hellonen at his residence in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
As of Friday, all three Marines have been nonetheless on active-duty standing, in keeping with the Marine Corps. However all three could possibly be separated from the Marine Corps “on lower than honorable circumstances,” prosecutors mentioned.
Hellonen obtained separation paperwork in July, whereas Coomer awaited a choice final Friday on his attainable separation, in keeping with prosecutors. They mentioned Abate was nonetheless enlisted within the Marine Corps as of Sept. 1.
“Below different circumstances, that service could be extremely laudable,” a prosecutor, Madison Mumma, advised the choose. “At greatest, it shouldn’t be credited in any respect.”
Hellonen, a Michigan native, was stationed on the army base in Quantico, Virginia, on Jan. 6. He labored on the Marine Corps Data Operations Heart as a indicators intelligence analyst and was promoted to the rank of sergeant in August 2021, mentioned his lawyer, Halerie Costello.
Hellonen moved to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina in February 2022 and was ready to be deployed when he was arrested, in keeping with Costello. Hellonen is aware of he shouldn’t have entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, Costello wrote in a sentencing memo.