A 20-year-old Capitol rioter from Bucks County, Pennsylvania was sentenced to 14 days in prison, despite his lawyer’s suggestion that his brain may not have been fully developed on Jan. 6, 2021.
Leonard Pearson “Pearce” Ridge IV was 19 years old when he drove to Washington, D.C. to participate in the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, which resulted in more than 140 police officers injured and damages upward of $1.5 million, The New York Post reported.
Ridge was responsible for breaking open the doors to the offices of Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). He also admitted to spending nearly 40 minutes inside the U.S. Capitol.
“I think we’re going to try to block the session of Congress,” he told a friend on Snapchat on his way to the Jan. 6 rally.
Ridge later told his Snapchat followers that he had “just made history” and that “I hate to say it but like the time for us to fight is here.” But for all intents and purposes, his tune seems to be changing now.
“If I could do it over again, I would have never entered that building or done any of the things I did that day,” he outwardly sobbed to U.S. District Judge John E. Boasberg on Tuesday.
Ridge’s attorney, Carina Laguzzi, asked the judge to be lenient before her client’s sentencing citing medical studies that suggest the human brain may not be fully developed until an individual’s mid-20s, according to reports. Ridge told the judge he had only entered politics “in the months before” Jan. 6.
“There are perhaps people who attended the rally who were swept up in the crowd, or swept up in the moment,” Judge Boasberg said. “But that is not true for you, given your previous statements.”
“A riot cannot occur without rioters, and each rioter’s actions — from the most mundane to the most violent — contributed, directly and indirectly, to the violence and destruction of that day,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Justin Friedman wrote in court filings preceding Tuesday’s hearing.
Ridge pleaded guilty in October 2021 to one misdemeanor count of entering a restricted area, six months after tips from high school classmates led to his arrest.
He was sentenced to 14 days in jail, along with probation for one year, 100 hours of community service and a fine of $1,000.