Jan. 6 Proud Boys defendant who led law enforcement on manhunt sentenced to 10 years in prison

Robert Legare

File: Jan. 6 defendant and Proud Boys member Christopher Worrell (right).

Government exhibit

Washington — A member of the far-right Proud Boys group who was convicted on charges that included assaulting police during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and later cut off his ankle monitor in an attempt to flee from law enforcement was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday. 

Christopher Worrell, of Florida, was convicted of seven counts at a bench trial last year after prosecutors alleged he sprayed law enforcement officers during the attack as they defended the north side of the Capitol against a large group of rioters.

In August, Worrell failed to appear at his sentencing hearing in Washington, D.C., and Judge Royce Lamberth, who sentenced him Thursday, issued a bench warrant for his arrest. The FBI issued an alert asking for assistance in finding Worrell, and he was ultimately taken into custody weeks later as he tried to return to his home. 

Court documents filed after Worrell’s arrest revealed his disappearance triggered an FBI manhunt. After law enforcement located him at his home, he allegedly “pretended” he had suffered a drug overdose in order to delay his capture. 

Prosecutors said in court documents that the FBI entered Worrell’s home on Sept. 28 after staking out his residence.

“Inside, they found Worrell, seemingly unresponsive, with an opened bottle of opioid prescription medication in his hand,” prosecutors said in court documents. They performed what they thought were lifesaving procedures and transported Worrell to the hospital. The government later learned this was all a ruse on Worrell’s part. Prosecutors say he had pretended to have a medical emergency as a delay tactic to stall the government’s investigation.

Before his disappearance, the Justice Department had asked the judge to send Worrell to prison for 14 years. Newer court records urged the judge to increase prison time to account for his fleeing. 

“Worrell triggered a manhunt and enormous waste of government resources. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office spent six weeks tracking Worrell, obtaining multiple warrants, many subpoenas, and other legal processes, all while sending leads throughout the country — from New York to South Carolina to Texas to California to Oregon — to track down tips about his location,” they wrote. 

Prosecutors said in court on Thursday that Worrell had a history of being dishonest with officials since his arrest and “actively deceived” law enforcement.”

Worrell’s defense attorney had argued for a lighter sentence of 30 months in home detention, citing a health condition that they said must be closely monitored.

The case first attracted attention in 2021 after Lamberth held the warden of the Washington, D.C., jail in civil contempt after Worrell complained that he was not getting proper care for an injury while he was in custody. His attorneys also contended that he was not receiving adequate treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

D.C. jail officials were held in contempt after they failed to provide the judge with the medical documentation that he had requested. Lamberth released Worrell to home confinement as his case was further litigated. 

Robert Legare www.cbsnews.com

2024-01-04 20:23:00 , Home – CBSNews.com

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