The Jan. 6 rioter who unloaded a can of pepper spray on U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died the next day, has been sentenced to six years and eight months in prison, multiple news outlets reported.
Julian Elie Khater also sprayed Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards and a third officer identified in court papers only by the initials “B.C.”
The 33-year-old pleaded guilty last September to two counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon, entering into a plea deal that estimated his sentencing guidelines to roughly six-and-a-half and eight years. His co-defendant, George Tanios, also went armed with pepper spray to Washington, D.C., but Tanios was not accused of having used it. Prosecutors initially accused Tanios of assisting in the assault on Sicknick before allowing Tanios to plead down to a pair of misdemeanors.
The Justice Department recently asked the judge to issue a sentence of time served to Tanios, arguing that it would promote “respect” for the law.
After communicating with Khater, Tanios purchased two canisters of bear spray and two canisters of pepper spray ahead of time, according to court papers. The pair joined the mob of Donald Trump supporters heading toward the Capitol, and prosecutors have said that open-source video captured Khater and Tanios talking about spraying police with chemicals.
“Give me that bear s—,” Khater was quoted telling Tanios.
“Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet… it’s still early,” Tanios reportedly replied.
Prosecutors accused neither Khater nor Tanios of causing Sicknick’s death, but six of Sicknick’s family members and loved ones planned to address the court on Friday: Gladys Sicknick, Ken Sicknick, Craig Sicknick, Nichole Sicknick, Charles Sicknick, and his partner, Sandra Garza.
“You, among all the other crazies — you are the reason Brian is dead,” mother Gladys Sicknick said.
Khater’s defense team did not say a word about Sicknick in their sentencing memo, and the defendant did not mention him either during his remarks to the court, CBS reported.
“I didn’t hear any expressions of sorrow,” U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan reportedly noted, adding that Khater never said the name “Sicknick.”
Khater interjected that he wanted to — but was discouraged from doing so because of a pending lawsuit by Sicknick’s estate, according to the network.
Though his report found Sicknick died of “natural causes,” the D.C. Medical Examiner told reporters that engaging with the Capitol rioters “played a role in his condition.” Sicknick’s family has been steadfast in asserting that Tanios and Khater’s actions led to the officer’s death. His estate accuses Tanios, Khater, and Trump of wrongful death.
Despite dropping felony charges against Tanios, prosecutors wrote in his sentencing memo that the 41-year-old “substantially contributed to the assault on the three officers.”
“Although Tanios, unlike Khater, did not personally assault the police officers on January 6, Tanios purchased and supplied Khater with the pepper spray he used for those assaults,” that memo states. “Tanios did so after learning from a knowledgeable clerk in a sportsmen store in West Virginia that he could not bring a firearm or a weapon that fired projectile pepper balls into the District of Columbia, but could bring different dangerous weapons, bear spray and pepper spray, instead. His decision to purchase such weaponry underscores the dangers associated with bringing weapons to a rally or a riot – it undoubtedly brings harm to others.”
Officer Edwards, another of Khater’s victims, described “hours and hours of hand-to-hand combat” in her testimony before the Jan. 6th Committee.
“It was carnage,” she said, recounting scenes of slipping in blood. “It was chaos.”
Law&Crime’s Marisa Sarnoff contributed to this report.
This is a developing story.
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