Powell man who stormed U.S. Capitol in Jan. 6 attack getting early release

A Powell man convicted for his role in storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is expected to be released from federal prison in early May while the U.S. Supreme Court determines whether the law he was convicted under is legally sound.

Alexander Sheppard, 24, had been serving a 19-month federal prison sentence after he was found guilty in January 2023 of multiple charges, including obstruction of an official proceeding. Sheppard was one of the first people to storm past police lines at the U.S. Capitol during the insurrection.

USA Today reported Tuesday that Sheppard will be released on May 2, according to an order filed by U.S. District Judge John Bates.

The obstruction charge for which Sheppard was convicted and sentenced is currently being challenged with the Supreme Court. Oral arguments in the case were heard by the nine justices on Tuesday, but a decision is not expected for several months.

About one-quarter of the more than 1,300 people charged by the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection were charged with obstruction for disrupting Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s electoral college victory over Donald Trump in the November 2020 general election.

Why is Alexander Sheppard being given an early release?

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Sheppard was one of about 10 defendants who had been sentenced under the statute who are expected to be released from prison while the Supreme Court case is pending. The release is for defendants who were sentenced only on the obstruction charge.

The defendants who are released, including Sheppard, could be sent back to federal prison depending on what the Supreme Court rules.

While Sheppard was convicted of multiple charges, the prison sentence he is serving was given on the obstruction charge with sentences on the other crimes ordered to run concurrently, or at the same time, as the obstruction sentence.

Had Sheppard been given the primary prison sentence on one of the other charges, an early release would not be considered because of the pending Supreme Court case, The New York Times reported.

What did Alexander Sheppard do on Jan. 6, 2021?

According to federal prosecutors, Sheppard recorded celebratory videos of himself inside the Capitol building, saying “We just shut down Congress.”

Sheppard also took video of fleeing members of Congress, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said, and watched as other rioters smashed windows of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lobby doors. Sheppard left the Capitol after witnessing Ashli Babbit get shot while trying to climb through a broken window.

The pending Supreme Court case was filed by another defendant charged in connection with Jan. 6 who is seeking to overturn his conviction. The case could have wide-reaching implications for many of the charged insurrectionists.

Former President Donald Trump is facing two obstruction charges as part of a federal indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. However, Trump faces additional charges that would remain even if the obstruction charges were to be dismissed.


This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Pending SCOTUS case gets Powell man convicted in Jan. 6 attack early prison release

Leave a Comment