Woman Who Took Son Into U.S. Capitol During Jan. 6 Riot Sentenced to 3 Months in Prison

Virginia Marie Spencer was sentenced to three months in prison on Friday after she and her husband brought their 14-year-old son into the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 riots.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly handed down Spencer's sentence on Friday after she pleaded guilty in September to a misdemeanor for parading, demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol.

Virginia Spencer and her husband, Christopher Raphael Spencer, brought their 14-year-old son with them into the Capitol during the riots for over 30 minutes despite seeing police throwing tear gas into the crowd, according to court records.

"It must have been a traumatic experience to witness this kind of violence," Kollar-Kotelly said. "It's a complete lack of judgment on your part."

Spencer's defense attorney, Allen Orenberg, asked the judge for her to serve no jail time and be given one year of probation and community service.

However, the judge sided with the prosecution's recommendation of serving three months in prison followed by three years of probation.

Christopher Raphael Spencer was also arrested, but he has pleaded not guilty to his charges.

Virginia Spencer was at least the 75th person to be sentenced regarding the Capitol riots. Over 700 people have been charged and more than 170 people have pleaded guilty.

Rioter Sentenced to Prison
A North Carolina woman was sentenced to three months in prison after she brought her 14-year-old son into the Capitol during the January 6 riots. Above, FBI and ATF law enforcement agents push out supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump as they protested inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Spencer must report to prison to begin serving her 90-day sentence by February 25.

The Spencers joined other rioters who overwhelmed a line of police officers, invaded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office suite and demanded entry to the House chamber, the filing says.

Spencer, a mother of five from Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, who works as a restaurant cashier, was arrested in Durham, North Carolina, in February.

On January 6, 2021, the Spencers and their son walked to the Capitol behind a group of members of the far-right Proud Boys. The couple briefly stopped to scream profanities at a counterprotester, according to prosecutors.

Inside the Capitol, Christopher Spencer filmed a Facebook Live video as he and his wife briefly entered Pelosi's office suite, prosecutors said.

"Of note, Speaker Pelosi had staff members who were trapped inside that suite as the rioters called for Speaker Pelosi steps away from them," a prosecutor wrote.

Virginia Spencer later joined a group of rioters who were chanting "Stop the steal!" and "Break it down!" outside the House chamber door, although prosecutors say she wasn't vocal or at the front of that crowd.

The Spencers spent more than 30 minutes inside the Capitol before leaving.

Spencer's lawyer says she "ate up" media coverage of protests that erupted across the country in the summer of 2020 after a white police officer killed a Black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis.

"After months of watching our major cities burn, many people became convinced that vocal displays of outrage in the form of protesting was the only way to make their voices heard," Orenberg wrote in a court filing.

Spencer also believed Donald Trump's lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, her attorney said.

"Mrs. Spencer did not come to Washington, D.C., with the intention of subverting democracy," Orenberg wrote. She came "to peacefully protest what she believed at that time to be a fraudulent election."

A prosecutor said Virginia Spencer "felt she was embarking on a noble endeavor as a representative of the citizenry."

"She could not have been more wrong," the prosecutor wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.