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Capitol riot case nets Mercer woman prison

Sentenced to 4 years and 9 months

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a Mercer County, Pa., woman to serve four years and nine months in prison on nine charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Rachel Marie Powell was sentenced on counts including civil disorder, obstruction, destruction of U.S. property, entering a restricted building or property with a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct.

Additionally, Powell was ordered to serve 36 months of supervised release and to pay $2,753 in restitution plus $5,555 in fines and fees.

Powell became known as the woman in a pink hat that was using a bullhorn to direct other rioters in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. She was seen smashing a window at the Capitol.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth in July heard testimony without a jury before he convicted Powell of all nine counts in her indictment. A prosecutor has said Powell, 41, of Sandy Lake, Pa., played a “leading role” during the riot.

According to the government’s sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutors, Powell was one of the first rioters to break through onto Capitol grounds near the Peace Circle in Washington.

“At the West Plaza, Powell pushed against barricades and encouraged other rioters to attack the police line. After the West Plaza was breached, Powell climbed up the Lower West Terrace, and eventually entered the Capitol itself through a broken window,” the court document states.

“Powell later used an ice ax and battering ram in an effort to break through a different window and breach the Capitol at a different location, encouraging rioters to enter the Capitol.”

The government had sought a sentence of 96 months in prison.

An affidavit states Powell was seen using the bullhorn to give instructions about the layout of the Capitol building and instructing others on how to “take this building.”

More than 1,100 people have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes. More than 800 of them have pleaded guilty or been convicted by a jury or judge after contested trials. Nearly 700 of them have been sentenced, with roughly two-thirds receiving terms of imprisonment ranging from three days to 22 years.

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