One of three active-duty Marines who participated in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, has been sentenced to probation and 279 hours of community service.
U.S. District Judge Ana Reyes handed this sentence to Dodge Hellonen, the first of the three Marines to face legal consequences for his involvement in the riot.
Judge Reyes expressed her disbelief at why Hellonen had violated his oath as a Marine, which commits individuals to protect the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” She urged him to reflect on his actions and ensure they do not happen again.
Hellonen and his co-defendants Micah Coomer and Joshua Abate drove from their military post in Virginia to Washington, D.C., on the day of the Capitol breach.
They joined the crowd that stormed the Capitol after then-President Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to “fight like hell.”
Reyes highlighted the sacrifices of Marines throughout American history, emphasizing the number of casualties in various wars.
Prosecutors recommended short periods of incarceration for Coomer and Hellonen, along with 60 hours of community service, citing their military service as making their actions even more troubling.
Despite this, Judge Reyes decided not to impose a prison term on Hellonen, sentencing him to four years of probation instead. She noted that Hellonen had maintained a positive attitude and strong work ethic, even after being demoted following the Capitol attack.
Hellonen, Coomer, and Abate had previously pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges related to their presence in the Capitol building. While none of them engaged in violence or destruction during the riot, prosecutors argued they had not shown sincere remorse.
Coomer’s social media posts raised concerns, particularly one where he expressed hope for a second civil war to overthrow what he considered a corrupt government. Prosecutors pointed out that Coomer’s military training and access to weapons made this statement especially alarming.
All three Marines remain on active-duty status, but they could face separation from the Marine Corps under less than honorable conditions.
Hellonen received separation paperwork in July, while Coomer awaited a decision on his potential separation, and Abate was still enlisted as of September 1.
The sentencing of Hellonen marks another chapter in the ongoing legal proceedings against individuals involved in the January 6 Capitol breach, a moment that had far-reaching implications for the United States and its institutions.