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Man who brought 'almost a small armory' and Molotov cocktails to the Capitol riot was sentenced to 46 months in prison

Apr 2, 2022, 09:19 IST
Business Insider
Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images
  • A man who parked a truck full of weapons near the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was sentenced Friday.
  • Lonnie Coffman, 72, was sentenced to 46 months in jail — one of the heftiest sentences yet.

An Alabama man who parked a truck full of guns, ammunition, and Molotov cocktails near the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, was sentenced to 46 months in prison on Friday — one of the heftiest Capitol riot sentences yet.

Lonnie Coffman, 72, pleaded guilty to two charges in November, including possession of unregistered weapons and carrying a pistol without a license, after initially facing seven counts.

Among the items found in Coffman's vehicle on January 6 were 11 Mason jars filled with gasoline and Styrofoam, multiple unregistered weapons, including firearms, a crossbow with bolts, a stun gun, machetes, and ammunition, according to charging documents.

"He had almost a small armory in his truck, ready to do battle," US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said, according to CNN, noting that she had never seen such a collection of weapons in all her years as a judge.

Neither Coffman nor his attorney offered any explanation for why he drove the vehicle full of possible explosives and weapons from Alabama to the nation's Capitol.


Court records show that Coffman traveled to Washington, DC, in December 2020 and attempted to discuss "election fraud" with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at his Washington home and office. Prosecutors said Coffman was living out of his truck for multiple days in DC ahead of January 6.

Kollar-Kotelly sentenced Coffman to 46 months, which was at the top of an agreed-upon sentencing guideline range within Coffman's plea deal. The Vietnam veteran was also sentenced to three years of probation and mandatory mental health treatment.

Coffman has been detained since he was arrested on January 6, 2021. The judge said he would get credit for time served.

Prosecutors say Coffman's car was parked blocks from the Capitol building in a security perimeter that was established after authorities discovered pipe bombs at both the Republican and Democratic National Committee buildings. When Coffman returned to his truck after the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6, police immediately arrested him.

Authorities detaining Coffman discovered that he had two loaded, unlicensed handguns on his person at the time, as well as a Texas militia contact card, prosecutors said. There is no evidence that Coffman illegally trespassed on Capitol grounds or breached the building.


The FBI had been aware of Coffman since 2014, thanks to his ties to the militia American Patriots, according to court documents.

While searching Coffman's truck and home, investigators later found lists of specific politicians and political players whom Coffman had deemed "traitors" or "bad."

"I wish that I had stayed home," Coffman said in virtual court on Friday, according to The Washington Post.

An attorney for Coffman declined to comment on the sentence.

At least 800 people have been charged in relation to the Capitol riot and more than 200 people have pleaded guilty. Only two people have received longer sentences than Coffman thus far, both of whom admitted to assaulting police officers.

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