Man Who Had $90,000 Job Sentenced to Almost Four Years for Participation in Insurrection

Devlyn Thompson, 28, was sentenced Monday to three years and 10 months in prison for his involvement in one of the most violent clashes outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, despite his defense arguing Thompson's placement on the autism spectrum should lead to leniency. The judge in the case pointed out his previous employment paid $90,000 per year, ruling autism as irrelevant to sentencing.

Thompson is from Washington state, moved to Georgia in 2020 and drove from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. He was involved in attacking several Capitol police officers for over two hours before leaving the area.

Defense attorney Elizabeth Kelley said because of Thompson's disorder he "functions in many ways as a young child," and it influenced what he believed was happening on Jan. 6.

"Autism is not and should not be an excuse for bad behavior, but rather, it should be considered when a person's individual culpability and degree of social understanding is called into question," she wrote.

To counter Kelley's claims of the extent Thompson's disorder could influence his behavior and interactions with others, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said autism isn't an excuse for assaulting a police officer. He also pointed out Thompson's employment before the riot at a rental property management company making $90,000 per year as evidence that he was a productive member of his community.

Thompson wrote letters to Lamberth and the police officer he assaulted with a metal baton apologizing for his actions before being sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison, with three years of supervised release after.

He has been in jail since he pleaded guilty to assaulting the officer in August.

January 6 Rioter, Prison Sentence, Autism
Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Another rioter was sentenced Monday to just under four years in prison for his actions involved with attacking police officers outside the Capitol. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

"The attack on the Capitol that day was an attack on the very rule of law in our country," Lamberth said.

Justice Department prosecutors recommended a four-year prison sentence for Thompson. Kelley requested a one-year prison sentence for Thompson.

The charge carries a maximum of 20 years imprisonment, but sentencing guidelines for Thompson's case recommended a prison sentence ranging from 46 to 57 months.

Prosecutors say one of the most violent confrontations on Jan. 6 was in the tunnel, where a mob and police fought for control of a Capitol entrance in an area known as the Lower West Terrace. Surveillance video captured Thompson with more than 190 other rioters in the tunnel. He struck a police officer's hand with a baton that he found in the tunnel. Others assaulted police with poles, sticks and other makeshift weapons.

Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone told a congressional committee in July that the fight in the tunnel was "nothing short of brutal." He was pulled into the mob, beaten and repeatedly shocked with a stun gun.

"I observed approximately 30 police officers standing shoulder to shoulder, maybe four or five abreast, using the weight of their bodies to hold back the onslaught of violent attackers. Many of these officers were injured, bleeding and fatigued, but they continued to hold the line," Fanone testified.

Before he assaulted the officer, Thompson helped the mob take riot shields from officers and brought them forward for other rioters to use against police, according to prosecutors. He also joined the mob in pushing together against the front line of officers and threw a large audio speaker that struck another rioter in the head, drawing blood, prosecutors said.

Thompson's actions on Jan. 6 "show an absolute disregard for the rule of law coupled with a willingness to incite and engage in violence," prosecutors wrote in a court filing.

In his apology letter to the officer, Thompson said he is still trying to understand his "inexcusable" behavior on Jan. 6.

"You deserve to be treated with respect and I didn't show you any with my actions that day," Thompson wrote.

Thompson is the third rioter to be sentenced for assaulting police at the Capitol. The other two, Robert Palmer and Scott Fairlamb, were sentenced to prison terms of 63 months and 41 months, respectively.

More than 700 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the riot. Over 150 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanor offenses punishable by a maximum of six months imprisonment. Nearly 70 defendants have been sentenced.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.