FILE PHOTO: A mob of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at a door they broke open as they storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo
By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal judge on Tuesday ordered continued pretrial detention for a former U.S. Marine facing multiple felony charges related to his allegedly violent conduct, including throwing a pole at police, during the Jan. 6. U.S. Capitol riot.
Beryl Howell, chief U.S. District judge in Washington, told Arizona resident James McGrew, 39, that the “weight of evidence is strong and merits pretrial detention.”
Howell said McGrew had violated probation he was serving for an earlier offense by travelling to Washington on Jan. 6 and had an extensive criminal record.
The judge said McGrew, whose abdomen features a large gothic-lettered tattoo labelling him “King James,” participated “enthusiastically … in a violent assault on the Capitol,” assuming a leadership position among rioters.
“I do find the defendant poses a danger to the community” beyond Jan. 6, Howell said.
According to a case summary filed by prosecutors, evidence showed that early in the riot, McGrew cheered as a mob of demonstrators first drove back police defending the Capitol’s West Plaza, where he apparently was pepper-sprayed.
Prosecutors said he subsequently entered the U.S. Capitol, encouraging other rioters to enter with him, and then became aggressive when police asked him to leave the Rotunda, where he was pepper-sprayed again. Prosecutors said that some time after exiting the Capitol building, McGrew threw a pole at police.
Defense lawyer William Shipley acknowledged that riot video did show that McGrew “took a hold of” a pole and threw it “like a javelin.” Shipley complained that his client had already spent six months in pretrial detention.
More than 660 people have been charged with taking part in the attack, an unsuccessful attempt to stop Congress from certifying Democratic President Joe Biden’s election victory, which former president Donald Trump falsely claimed was the result of widespread fraud.