Surrounded by a sea of uniformed police officers, a New Jersey man who pleaded guilty to shooting pepper spray into the face of Officer Brian D. Sicknick during the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced on Friday to nearly seven years in prison.
The 80-month sentence handed down against the man, Julian Khater, brought an end to one of the wrenching cases involving Officer Sicknick, who died one day after he was doused with pepper spray in the melee outside the Capitol.
Under a deal with the government, another man, George Tanios, pleaded guilty in July to misdemeanor charges after initially being accused of taking part in the assault of Officer Sicknick as well. Mr. Tanios was also set to be sentenced on Friday.
While early reports suggested that Officer Sicknick died of his injuries, an autopsy later showed that he died of natural causes, after suffering multiple strokes that were not directly related to the violent pro-Trump riot. Still, prosecutors have noted in court filings that Washington’s medical examiner determined that Officer Sicknick had engaged with rioters on Jan. 6 and that “all that transpired played a role in his condition.”
The sentence hearing, in Federal District Court in Washington, was marked by an unusual spectacle as perhaps 50 of Officer Sicknick’s colleagues in the Capitol Police descended on the courtroom — so many that a couple of dozen were asked to move to an overflow room. The hearing also featured emotional testimony from several members of Officer Sicknick’s family.
Gladys Sicknick, Officer Sicknick’s mother, told Mr. Khater that he had went after her son “like he was an animal,” adding that whatever penalty he received was “not enough in my eyes.”