A member of the Proud Boys who smashed a Capitol window with a stolen police shield to let in a mob of rioters on Jan. 6, 2021, tearfully begged for mercy before he was sentenced on Friday—only to turn around and yell “Trump won!” after a judge sent him to the slammer for 10 years.
Dominic Pezzola, whom VICE first identified by his nickname “Spazzo,” was convicted in May of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers, and robbery involving government property alongside four other Proud Boy co-defendants. His smashing of the Capitol window was one of the first breaches of the building, and allowed hordes of wild MAGA fanatics to storm the building.
“You opened up the Capitol like a can opener,” U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly said Friday, adding that the tradition of peacefully transferring power was “among the most precious things we had as Americans” before Jan. 6.
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) January 6, 2021
His sentence was half of what prosecutors originally sought, and was less than those of two co-defendants, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl, who were recently handed 17 and 15 years behind bars, respectively. Pezzola was acquitted of a seditious conspiracy charge, unlike his fellow Proud Boys, but prosecutors described him as the “literal poster boy” for the group’s conspiracy.
During an emotional plea to Kelly on Friday, Pezzola insisted he was “a changed and humbled man” and said he stood before the court “with a heart full of regret.”
“This was the worst, most regrettable decision of my life. I fully realize the gravity of my actions,” he said.
Pezzola reportedly wiped his eyes as his wife and mom tearfully addressed the court. Lisa Magee told the court that she had struggled to find employment because of her husband’s actions, and her daughters had been subjected to bullying and harassment. “I truly believe if he could change the course of that day, he would,” she said.
Even with Magee’s beg for mercy, she was far from making an excuse for Pezzola’s behavior.
“As I said on the stand, he’s a fucking idiot,” she said, according to a tweet from Politico reporter Kyle Cheney.
But even after a tearful plea and claiming he accepted full responsibility, Pezzola reportedly smiled, raised his fist in the air and shouted “Trump won!” as he exited the courtroom.