Big Sky Roundup

East Helena man sentenced to 46 months in prison for Jan. 6 Capitol breach

By: - January 6, 2023 4:32 pm

A group of rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 (Getty images).

An East Helena man was sentenced Friday, on the second anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol breach, to nearly four years in prison for illegally entering the Capitol and Senate chambers that day.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., sentenced Jerod Wade Hughes, 39, to 46 months in prison and three years of supervised release to follow. He was also ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

According to the office, Hughes and his brother, Joshua Hughes, were among the first people to breach and enter the Capitol that day. Joshua Hughes was sentenced Nov. 22 to 38 months in prison.

The two were arrested Feb. 1, 2021, and pleaded guilty on Aug. 25 of last year to obstruction of an official proceeding.

According to federal court documents, the brothers attended the rally at the Ellipse that day that featured then-President Donald Trump, then joined the crowd that moved to the Capitol, breaking through police barricades.

The brothers were part of a group that went up the stairs on the west side of the Capitol and pushed through officers on the staircase, forcing them to retreat, according to federal court documents and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The brothers entered the Capitol through a broken window next to the Senate Wing Door.

“Joshua and Jerod Hughes were among the first rioters to enter the Capitol Building on Jan. 6,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release Friday.

The office said once inside the Capitol, Jerod Hughes and another person tried to kick open the Senate Wing door next to the window where they had entered the building.

He and his brother followed a group that was chasing Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, and when they ran into more officers, Jerod Hughes “screamed and made aggressive gestures toward the officers,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

They then entered the Senate Gallery, and about 35 minutes after getting inside the Capitol building, entered the Senate Chamber and walked among senators’ desks for around two minutes, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who added the brothers were “among the first rioters there.” The two left the Capitol afterward.

FBI agents from Helena and Salt Lake City were involved in the investigation alongside agents from Washington, D.C., and Metropolitan and U.S. Capitol police. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section prosecuted the case, with help from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana, the Department of Justice said.

As of Jan. 6, 2023, more than 950 people have been arrested in connection with the Capitol breach and riot, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

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Blair Miller
Blair Miller

Blair Miller is a reporter based in Helena who primarily covers government, climate and courts. He's been a journalist for more than 12 years, previously based in Denver, Albuquerque and mid-Missouri.