Washington, D.C./ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 24, 2024
Capitol Chaos Crackdown, Texas Man Sentenced to 2 Years for Jan. 6 Riot RoleSource: Unsplash/ Ye Jinghan

A Carthage, Texas man received a 24-month prison sentence after a federal judge found him guilty of charges stemming from his actions during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, a siege that shook the foundation of American democracy and obstructed the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

36-year-old Alex Kirk Harkrider was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, who also ordered Harkrider to 24 months of supervised release and to pay $2,000 in restitution, according to a Justice Department release.

Harkrider, following a stipulated bench trial, was convicted January 2 on charges including felony civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building with a dangerous weapon, and disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon; misdemeanors also stuck, like theft of government property and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.

Leading up to the fateful day, Harkrider and his co-defendant Ryan Nichols, who was sentenced to over five years in prison on May 2, discussed their plans in messages like one in which Nichols wrote, “Just know I have intel that Washington will be a warzone," and on Jan. 6 both attended the "Stop the Steal" rally before marching to the Capitol armed with body armor and weapons, including a tactical tomahawk axe these details were extracted from court documents obtained by the Justice Department.

Harkrider's involvement escalated as he and Nichols battled law enforcement officers at the Capitol's lower west terrace, known as the Tunnel, where some of January 6's most violent conflicts ensued; the Texas man was seen holding a stolen police canister above his head and passing it to other members of the crowd, chanting "Heave! Ho!" with Nichols, the two forced themselves into the Capitol through a broken window and, once inside, Nichols using a bullhorn, bellowed, “If you have a weapon, you need to get your weapon!”

The two were later seen leaving the Capitol, with Harkrider taking with him a piece of broken government furniture as a souvenir of the day's lawlessness which authorities later retrieved from his Texas home, Harkrider was subsequently arrested on January 18, 2021, by the FBI.

The efforts to hold accountable those involved in the January 6 insurrection continue as more than 1,424 individuals have been charged with related crimes across almost every state, reinforcing the rule of law and the ongoing pursuit of justice for one of the darkest days in recent American history, as noted by the Justice Department's release.