Jail pressed for South Jersey riot suspect Lawrence Stackhouse 1/6

WASHINGTON, DC — A federal prosecutor wants 45 days in jail for a Blackwood man who admitted taking part in the US Capitol riot.

Lawrence Earl Stackhouse should also be sentenced to 36 months probation and 60 hours of community service, argues a sentencing memorandum filed in federal court for the District of Columbia.

A probation-only sentence would be “unwarranted,” Assistant US Attorney April Ayers-Perez claims in the 32-page filing.

Stackhouse admitted guilt in February to marching, demonstrating or picketing the Capitol building, described in the filing as a Class B misdemeanor.

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The memo claims that Stackhouse, wearing a Proud Boys hoodie, was among the first to enter the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising.

He says he went to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office “after seeing and hearing the door being kicked in, even as the Speaker’s terrified staff members sought refuge under the desks.”

A public defender on Tuesday requested additional time to file a similar memorandum on Stackhouse’s behalf and prepare for sentencing.

The filing, which was not contested by the Justice Department, suggested that Stackhouse’s sentencing date could be moved from May 6 to June 17.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell has yet to rule on the public defender’s request.

Stackhouse was arrested – and fired from his job – in March 2021, after a witness told investigators his involvement in the riot was “common knowledge” at his workplace.

In asking for a jail sentence, Ayers-Perez argues that the South Jersey man’s action must be seen in the context of the larger upheaval on Capitol Hill.

She notes that the rioters “threatened the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 presidential election, injured more than a hundred police officers and caused more than $2.7 million in property damage.”

“Without his actions alongside so many others, the riot probably would have failed,” Ayers-Perez says.

His memorandum also points to discrepancies between comments Stackhouse made to FBI agents and evidence from his cellphone and the riot scene.

For example, according to the memo, Stackhouse told investigators he had no interest in the Proud Boys and only wore the band’s hoodie “because the phrase ‘Trump 45’ was written on the back in red, white and blue”.

But in a Dec. 28, 2020, text exchange with another accused rioter, Michael Gianos of Evesham, the memo says, Stackhouse asked to join the far-right group.

He also argues that Stackhouse falsely claimed that the police allowed him to enter the Capitol and that no damage occurred to the area he entered.

In contrast, the memo claims, surveillance photos show shattered windows and doors in that area.

He also notes that following the riot, Stackhouse blamed Capitol police for “drawing violence on themselves” and said “(I) have no regrets.”

Stackhouse, who agreed to pay $500 in restitution as part of a plea deal, faces up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

The Camden County man would be the second South Jersey resident to be convicted for his role in the Capitol Riot.

In March, Robert Lee Petrosh of Mays Landing was sentenced to 10 days in jail and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

Petrosh, a party store operator, also had to return two microphones stolen from a music stand during the Capitol siege.

A prosecutor had requested a 120-day jail term for Petrosh, while a defense attorney had requested probation.

Jim Walsh covers public safety, economic development and other topics for the Courier-Post, the Burlington County Times and the Daily Journal.

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