Former Tennessee sheriff's deputy Ronald Colton McAbee on Sept. 25 pleaded guilty to one Jan. 6 assault felony and one misdemeanor charge but will still go to trial on Oct. 2 on five other counts.
Mr. McAbee, 29, of Unionville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty in Washington D.C. to one count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers and one count of an act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings.
U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras set sentencing on the two charges for Feb. 29, 2024. The felony assault charge carries a maximum prison term of eight years, while the misdemeanor count could lead to six months of imprisonment.
The two guilty pleas were not part of a deal with federal prosecutors. The U.S. Department of Justice offered a plea deal on Sept. 12 that Mr. McAbee ultimately rejected.
“Mr. McAbee plead guilty to two charges for which the government has ample proof and to which he readily admits," Benjamin Schiffelbein, Mr. McAbee's attorney, told The Epoch Times.
"This trial will resolve whether his actions in attempting to assist a separate downed officer constitute another criminal offense," Mr. Schiffelbein said. "He believes a jury will see the evidence in his favor and acquit him of the remaining charges.”
Mr. McAbee was seen on video swiping at or attempting to shove Metropolitan Police Department Officer Carter Moore after the officer pushed against Mr. McAbee's broken shoulder at the mouth of the Capitol's Lower West Terrace tunnel.
Video also showed Mr. McAbee reacting in anger at officers after being struck on the head with a police riot stick.
During some of Mr. McAbee's interactions with police, Ms. Boyland was on the ground to his left, unconscious and not breathing. He was later one of the bystanders who performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on her. Ms. Boyland was pronounced dead at an area hospital more than 90 minutes later.
Jury selection will begin Oct. 2 for Mr. McAbee's trial on charges that include assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers, using a dangerous weapon, and aiding and abetting civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon, and engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon.
The dangerous weapon in question is a pair of motorcycle gloves with reinforced knuckles, which Mr. McAbee said he purchased in case he was attacked by supporters of Antifa.
The most hotly contested charge against Mr. McAbee claims that he assaulted MPD Officer Andrew Wayte. Video shows after Officer Wayte fell to the ground, Mr. McAbee spun him around just before his own feet were knocked out from under him.
The pair slid down the concrete steps leading to the tunnel. Prosecutors allege this was an assault, but Officer Wayte's own bodycam captured Mr. McAbee telling him that he was a law enforcement officer and would help him to his feet. Mr. McAbee shouted at protesters to leave Officer Wayte alone.
According to a defense transcript of the bodycam video, Officer Wayte said, "Let go of me, man," to which Mr. McAbee replied, "I'm helping you."
Officer Wayte then said, "I know, I know. Help me up," according to the transcript.