By Sam Wildow
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Bradford couple was recently sentenced to jail time for their participation in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan sentenced Brandon J. Miller, 35, to 20 days in jail, and Stephanie D. Miller, 31, received a sentence of 14 days in jail.
The U.S. Department of Justice had recommended probation and home detention for the couple.
HuffPost’s senior justice reporter Ryan Reilly posted on Twitter that Chutkan told the Millers, “The country is watching. There have to be consequences for participating in an attempt to overthrow the government.” Reilly also posted that Chutkan told the Millers that they are not the worst mistakes they have ever done, adding that Chutkan encouraged them to show their child that they could go on to be productive people after making a mistake.
Chutkan allowed the Millers to stagger their sentences so one of them will be at home to take care of a minor child.
The Millers faced a maximum prison sentence of six months in jail each, along with a maximum fine of $5,000 each.
In September, the Millers entered pleas of guilty to “Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building,” a class B misdemeanor offense. The Millers were first served their warrants for the charges on March 12 at their Bradford home on U.S. Route 36 in Darke County.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s statement of offense about the case, the Millers attended a political rally on the National Mall on Jan. 6 before walking with a crowd to the U.S. Capitol. The Millers “initially stood outside the building and observed people climbing on the building’s walls” before they “entered the U.S. Capitol by climbing through a broken window next to the Senate Wing Door.”
The document states the Millers “walked through the Capitol among a large crowd past the House Wing Door, Memorial Door, through the Crypt and Hall of Columns.” Brandon Miller reportedly “broadcasted video footage of himself and Stephanie Miller walking through the U.S. Capitol over Facebook Live.” The couple ultimately exited the building through the South Door Vestibule. They were in the Capitol Building for approximately 10 minutes between 3-3:10 p.m. on Jan. 6.
Additional court documents state the Millers did not destroy or steal property or assault or threaten to harm anyone. Brandon Miller reportedly made an “obscene remark while passing a law enforcement officer,” but the Millers did not appear to resist, confront, or assault law enforcement officers, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Since they knew they did not have permission to be in the U.S. Capitol Building, the U.S. Department of Justice stated that by entering the building, the defendants “took part in a parade, demonstration and picket inside the Capitol Building.”
According to the FBI’s Cincinnati Division, the Millers’ Facebook accounts contained multiple posts and conversations related to their entry into the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6 in addition to the Facebook Live broadcast.
In multiple posts and messages, Brandon Miller admitted to being the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. On his Facebook timeline, Brandon Miller showed he was at a hotel in Washington, D.C. with Stephanie Miller on or about Jan. 6 with the message about how he could not wait “to witness history.”
Stephanie Miller, at the end of a social media post about the Capitol riot, said, “What an experience it was and feeling to have after!” The post was followed by pictures that appeared to be from the Jan. 6 events in and around the Capitol Building, according to the FBI documents.
The FBI also captured the Millers on video surveillance during the Capitol riot, as well as connected geographical cell phone records of cell phone numbers associated with the Millers. The cell phone records showed those phone numbers as having utilized a cell site consistent with providing service to a geographic area that included the interior of the U.S. Capitol Building.
In a letter to the judge, Stephanie Miller apologized for the “poor decision” she made, saying “this is completely out of character for me to be involved in such.” She went on to write, “I do understand that there were items destroyed and people hurt during this all happening. And to the families of those people, I am truly sorry that I chose to be around people that did cause all of that.”
In Stephanie Miller’s letter, she admitted to going into the Capitol Building “through a previously broken window.” She said that she understands that was wrong and that she “paid dearly for my decision.” Additional letters from family members and an employer were filed on Stephanie Miller’s behalf.
In a memorandum filed on Brandon Miller’s behalf, family members spoke on his behalf. The memorandum notes that other family members have stopped speaking to him.
Also as part of their sentencing, the Millers will have to complete 60 hours of community service and pay $500 in restitution. The Millers were order to self-surrender after the holidays.