East Liverpool man sentenced to 58 months in prison for Capitol riot role
The final Valley resident sentenced in connection with the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol building has received a longer prison term than the previous eight local defendants
In handing a 58-month sentence to Kenneth Thomas of East Liverpool on Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney L. Friedrich also denied a defense motion to acquit Thomas and grant him a new trial.
In addition, Thomas has been ordered to pay $2,000 restitution and a $20,000.00 fine.
A jury earlier found Thomas guilty of civil disorder, four counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding an officer, entering, or remaining in a restricted building and grounds, and disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.
Investigators say Thomas led assaults on five officers during an incursion at the Capitol, while Congress was certifying Joseph Biden as the winner of the 2020 Presidential Election.
According to the government, Thomas was on the Upper West Terrace at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, standing in front of a line of police officers who were preventing the rioters from advancing further towards the Capitol. When the mob surged forward against the police line, Thomas twice charged the line of police officers, striking and shoving two Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers with his hands. Thomas’ assaults were captured on police body-worn cameras (BWC) and in many open-source videos from the scene.
Approximately an hour later, in a different part of the Upper West Terrace, prosecutors say Thomas was captured on body cam footage advancing toward a line of law enforcement and pushing against their shields.
At 4:26 p.m., officers began to advance to dispel the crowd of rioters from the steps. Thomas turned toward rioters and ordered them to “hold the line” against advancing officers, repeating this statement fifteen times as he locked arms with the other rioters and pushed against the officers.
At 4:28 p.m., as officers worked to clear the Upper West Terrace, Thomas rushed to the head of the line of rioters and twice threw himself into an MPD officer while yelling to the rioters, “hold the f-ing line.” In subsequent interviews, law enforcement officers confirmed the attack and stated Thomas “was one of the first to come in and start hitting [and] pushing officers on the line.”
The sentence is half of the nine years recommended by prosecutors. Thomas’s attorney had asked for house arrest and no fines.
Eight other people from the Valley convicted in connection with the Capitol breach have already been sentenced.
Rachel Powell, of Mercer County, often referred to as 'pink hat lady' or 'bullhorn lady' has been sentenced to 57 months in prison on nine charges.
Michael Scott Lockwood, 32, of Southington, was sentenced earlier this month to 12 months and one day in prison and 36 months of supervised release after having pled guilty to a felony offense of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers on July 24.
Two people from New Castle, Phillip Vogel II and Debra Maimone were convicted of aiding and abetting the theft of U.S. property.
Vogel II was sentenced to 30 days in jail followed by one year of supervised release. Maimone was sentenced to two years’ probation. Each was ordered to make $1,806 restitution.
Brian and Julia Sizer of Ellwood City were both placed on probation for a year for entering the Capitol during the disturbance.
Stephen Ayers of Champion, who made national headlines when he testified before the House select committee hearing into the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol, was sentenced Thursday to two years probation after pleading guilty to entering the temporary residence of the president and disorderly conduct in the Capitol.
Ayer’s companion that day at the Capitol, Matthew Perna of Sharpsville, pleaded guilty to charges of witness tampering, disorderly conduct, and two counts of entering a restricted building or grounds. Perna took his own life before he could be sentenced.
Since Jan. 6, 2021, nearly 1,100 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol.