Proud Boy Who Had Ax Handle at Capitol Gets Prison Sentence (Newser)


    Proud Boy Who Had Ax Handle at Capitol Gets Prison Sentence – By Newser Editors and Wire Services (Newser) / Jan 12, 2024

    Prosecutors say William Chrestman encouraged rioters and ‘thanked them for supporting the Proud Boys’

    A jailed member of the Proud Boys extremist group was sentenced on Friday to more than four years in prison for his role in a mob’s attack on the US Capitol three years ago, court records show. William Chrestman, an Army veteran from Olathe, Kansas, brandished an axe handle and threated police with violence after leading other Proud Boys members to the perimeter of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Chrestman pleaded guilty in October to obstructing the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress for certifying the Electoral College vote, the AP reports. He also pleaded guilty to a second felony count of threatening to assault a federal officer during the riot.

    US District Judge Timothy Kelly sentenced Chrestman to four years, seven months in prison, according to court records. Prosecutors had recommended a prison sentence of five years, three months, arguing that he “played a significant role during the riot due to his presence and conduct at pivotal moments during the day.” They wrote, “Indeed, Chrestman regularly presented himself as a leader among the rioters including when he was part of the tip of the spear that created the breach at the Peace Circle, encouraged other rioters to move to the police barricades, told rioters to stop the arrest of a rioter, and thanked them for supporting the Proud Boys.” Chrestman has been jailed since his arrest in February 2021. He’ll get credit for the nearly three years he already has served in custody.

    Defense attorney Michael Cronkright argued that Chrestman never used his axe handle “to do anything remotely violent” on Jan. 6. Chrestman also had a gas mask, a helmet, and other tactical gear when he traveled to Washington with other Proud Boys members from the Kansas City, Kansas, area. On Jan. 6, he marched to the Capitol grounds with dozens of other Proud Boys leaders, members, and associates. Chrestman and other Proud Boys moved past a toppled metal barricade and joined other rioters in front of another police barrier. He shouted a threat at officers and yelled at others in the crowd to stop police from arresting another rioter, according to prosecutors. He also exchanged chants with the crowd, telling it to “take” the Capitol, they said.




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