WASHINGTON — A federal judge sentenced a U.S. Marine Corps veteran to more than five years in prison Wednesday for assaulting a line of police officers with chemical spray on Jan. 6, 2021.
Daniel Ray Caldwell, 51, of The Colony, Texas, appeared before U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly for sentencing on one count of assaulting police with a dangerous weapon. Caldwell was arrested in February 2021 and pleaded guilty to the charge in September of last year.
Prosecutors requested the judge sentence Caldwell to 70 months in prison, writing in a sentencing memo that he had violently attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 and “provided valuable aid to a mob that interrupted the certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote count…”
Investigators identified at least four officers who were injured or impaired by Caldwell’s assault, including one who experienced severe skin irritation and pain and had to be hospitalized as a result of the spray transferring onto his skin.
After assaulting the line of officers, Caldwell entered the Capitol through the Senate Wing doors and remained inside for approximately two minutes.
Caldwell’s plea agreement included an estimated sentencing guidelines range of 63-78 months. Prosecutors argued he deserved a sentence in the middle of that range in part because of his lack of regret following Jan. 6.
“Caldwell showed no remorse for his crimes in the immediate aftermath of the riot,” prosecutors wrote. “To the contrary, he reveled in those crimes.”
That reveling, prosecutors said, included saying during and interview that he “got like 15 of them” when he sprayed police who were defending the Capitol.
In his sentencing memo, Caldwell’s attorney, Robert L. Jenkins, argued his client had been remorseful and had spent nearly two years in particularly challenging pretrial detention conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also highlighted Caldwell’s service in the Marines, from which he received an honorable discharge at the rank of corporal in 1997.
“Mr. Caldwell is a proud disabled military veteran who is blessed with a strong loving family,” Jenkins wrote. “The events of January 6 do not define him as a person. In contrast to the balance of his life it represents an abnormality. One day of poor judgment does not outweigh years of service to country, hard work, and devotion to family.”
On Wednesday, Judge Kollar-Kotelly sentenced Caldwell to 68 months in prison – slightly below the Justice Department’s request – and $2,000 in restitution for damage done to the Capitol during the riot. Caldwell will receive credit for the approximately two years he’s already served in pretrial detention.
More than 950 defendants have now been charged in connection with the Capitol riot. Of those, approximately 350 defendants have either been convicted or pleaded guilty to crimes ranging from parading in a Capitol building to seditious conspiracy.
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