Matthew Ryan Miller will serve nearly three years behind bars for participating in the attack on police in the Capitol tunnel.
WASHINGTON — A Maryland man who scaled the walls outside the United States Capitol before assaulting police on Jan. 6 was sentenced Monday to 33 months in prison.
Matthew Ryan Miller, 23, of Howard County, appeared before U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss to hear his sentence on two counts of obstructing an official process and assaulting police. Miller’s plea deal called for a recommended sentence of 41 to 51 months after dropping a dangerous weapon upgrade, and prosecutors asked Moss to sentence him to the upper limit of that sentence: 51 months in prison. prison, followed by three years of supervised release. In their sentencing memo, prosecutors pointed to Miller’s involvement in repeated assaults on officers defending the Lower West Terrace tunnel, including an assault with a fire extinguisher.
“Miller was not deterred by the violence surrounding him,” prosecutors wrote, “rather he stepped forward to be part of it.”
But Miller’s attorney, A. Eduardo Balarezo, said clemency from Moss was in order. He told the judge that Miller didn’t attend the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, but instead came to DC because he thought it would be “cool” to be part of history. Balarezo said Miller was drunk and stoned at the time and, in his own sentencing note, presented evidence that the brain’s prefrontal cortex – which influences impulse control and decision-making – is not completely developed in humans before the age of 25. Miller was 21 at the time of the riot.
“Matthew is a young man who made a terrible decision on January 6, 2021,” Balarezo wrote. “He acknowledges that his personal conduct and participation in the riot did not arise out of a rational decision, but rather was fueled by the abuse of alcohol and marijuana. He fully accepts responsibility for what he did and don’t make excuses.
Moss asked Balarezo why he should believe Miller was truly remorseful, pointing to other riot defendants who said different things in and out of court. Moss also described Miller as someone who “coordinated” and “coordinated” the mob to attack the police.
“I guess you would describe him as a cheerleader, your honor,” Balarezo said. “Not coaching, but cheerleading. We would accept that.
“Cheerleaders don’t go out on the field. They stay away,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Schesnol. “Mr. Miller has been out in the field a lot.
Balarezo asked Moss to sentence Miller to a year and a day – arguing his conduct was less serious than other assault cases like Robert Scott Palmer, who was sentenced to 63 months in prison for attacking police with a wooden plank and, like Miller, a fire extinguisher.
Miller himself spoke up, saying he was “ashamed of my shortcomings and naivety”.
“Seeing pictures of my drunken behaviors that day sends shivers down my spine,” Miller said. “My intentions that day were to wear a wild outfit, drink beers and have a good time.”
However, Moss described Miller’s actions as more serious.
“I don’t think there have been any attacks on officers on Capitol Hill as dangerous as those on the [Lower West Terrace] tunnel,” Moss said.
Moss ultimately said he gave Miller some credit for his youth and his strict adherence to the terms of his release. He sentenced him to 33 months in prison. He will also have to pay $2,000 in restitution and complete 100 hours of community service upon his release.
“Mr. Miller, I know this is tough medicine,” Moss said. “In fact, I wish you the best of luck. I know that when you step out, you’ll be serving your community and your family…and moving forward with a successful life.”
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