Man With 11 Molotov Cocktails Near Capitol on Jan. 6 Sentenced to 46 Months

An Alabama man who brought Molotov cocktails and guns near the Capitol during the January 6, 2021, riot was sentenced to nearly four years in prison on Friday.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly sentenced 72-year-old Lonnie Coffman to 46 months in prison after Coffman pleaded guilty to possession of unregistered firearms, The Hill reported. Authorities found 11 Molotov cocktails as well as guns and hundreds of ammunition rounds on the same day as the riot, the report added.

Coffman is one of hundreds of people charged in the 2021 riot, which killed five people and launched an ongoing investigation into former President Donald Trump and his allies. According to the Associated Press, Coffman is one of only nine people who have received a sentence of longer than one year for the riot. Most of the approximate 130 people who have received sentences pleaded guilty to misdemeanors, warranting smaller sentences or just having to pay a fine.

On the day of the riot, officers were informed of a potential explosive device near the Capitol building, at which point they discovered Coffman's pickup truck, according to an affidavit from the U.S. Department of Justice. Eventually, Coffman returned to the truck, at which point the officers detained him. Authorities also found that he had been walking around the riot with an unregistered handgun in his pocket.

When deciding on the sentence, Kollar-Kotelly said Coffman "clearly needs a mental evaluation and treatment," adding that she had never seen such a weapons stockpile in all her years as a judge, as it included machetes and a crossbow in addition to the Molotov cocktails, WUSA-TV's Jordan Fischer reported.

"The key question to me is... what was the purpose of driving to D.C. with all of these weapons in his possession?" she said. "He had a small armory in his truck ready for battle. I still can't get over why he had this."

The 46-month sentence takes into account the more than a year Coffman has already spent in prison since the weapons stockpile was first found, the AP reported.

Manuel Retureta, Coffman's attorney, argued that a prison sentence would not be appropriate due to his age and medical condition, with Coffman writing in a letter to Kollar-Kotelly that "at my age, one of the most precious [things] we possess is time, and I have wasted almost a whole precious year," the AP added.

However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Friedman said in the AP report that the sheer number of weapons posed too much of a danger to ignore.

"Possession of so much dangerous weapons in our nation's capital is uniquely offensive to our cherished, democratic political traditions," he said.

Retureta declined Newsweek's request for comment.

Update 04/01/22 12:25 p.m. ET: This story was updated to add more information and background.

Lonnie Coffman Sentenced for January 6
A man who brought Molotov cocktails and guns near the U.S. Capitol building during the January 6 riot received 46 months in prison. Above, Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the Capitol in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021. Photo by Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images