WASHINGTON — A federal judge sentenced a former West Virginia lawmaker to three months in prison Wednesday for joining and encouraging the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.
Derrick Evans, who briefly served as a Republican representing West Virginia’s 19th House District, appeared virtually before U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth Wednesday afternoon. Evans pleaded guilty in February to one felony count of civil disorder and faced a recommended sentence of up to six months in prison. He resigned from his position in the West Virginia House three days after the Capitol riot, having served a little more than a month in office.
In their sentencing memo, prosecutors argued Evans should serve three of those months behind bars because of his role in fomenting the crowd that breached the Capitol.
“He urged rioters around him to ‘take’ the Capitol and he told them that the certification of the electoral college vote was paused ‘because of protestors’ and that ‘patriots’ made it onto the Senate floor,” prosecutors wrote. “Evans whooped and hollered throughout his livestream, telling his followers, ‘Guys, oh my gosh, I can’t even explain what is happening right now, how amazing this is to see it in person. I am in awe. The revolution has started. The revolution has started!”
In his own memo asking for a sentence of restitution or probation, Evans’ attorney, Paul G. Taylor, didn’t shy away from the revolution comparisons.
“To be sure, the January 6, 2021 Capitol Riot was a disturbing and violent moment in American History,” Taylor wrote. “At the same time, it was an example of democracy (albeit dysfunctional) in action: some citizens exercising their First Amendment right… ‘peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’ Students of American History know this constitutional provision was a result of the revolution which gave birth to our nation. Unfortunately, the peaceful protest became violent and this turned it into a criminal event under our law.”
Lamberth said he had initially considered sentencing Evans to even more time, noting the need for a strong deterrent of any similar event in the future.
“I don’t want this to happen again,” Lamberth said. “So, I’m going to do what I can.”
Evans was ordered to serve three months in prison and to pay a $2,000 fine and an additional $2,000 in restitution to the Architect of the Capitol. He’ll be allowed to self-report to authorities.
Before learning his sentence, Evans thanked Lamberth for granting him pretrial release, which allowed him to attend his children’s first soccer games and days of school.
“My actions have had great consequences,” Evans said. “The hardest part is looking in the mirror and knowing my actions have caused great harm to my wife and kids.”
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