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Marine is found guilty in court-martial of attacking protestor at Charlottesville rally

Protesters in Justice Park, Charlottesville, on Aug. 12, 2017. (Anthony Crider/Flickr)
June 20, 2018

A U.S. Marine was found guilty in a court-martial for behavior related to his participation in last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Lance Cpl. Vasillios Pistolis was found guilty of failing to obey an order of regulation and for making false statements, according to ABC News.

Pistolis was convicted Monday. He received a 28-day jail sentence, a two-rank demotion to E-1, and he will lose two-thirds salary for one month. He has seven days to request clemency, according to the Marines.

The crimes are listed under Articles 92 and 107 in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as the 2nd Marine Logistics Group told ABC.

Pistolis served in the 2nd Marine Logistics Group’s Combat Logistics Regiment at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

In May, ProPublica reported that Pistolis was a member of the white supremacist group Atomwaffen Division, a group reportedly dedicated to preparing for an impending race war in the U.S. The group is considered one of the most extreme for its mission of overthrowing the U.S. government through acts of political violence and guerrilla tactics.

Pistolis, who was 18 years old at the time, was photographed committing acts of violence at the Charlottesville rally in August 2017.

He was then identified as bragging online about the violence under the username “VasilliustheGreek.” Online users encouraged him to commit acts of violence against counterprotesters. Pistolis posted that he was prepared to kill someone if necessary.

The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville originally gathered to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. The event was overtaken by white supremacists and neo-Nazis such as the Atomwaffen group. Racial tensions and violence erupted at the two-day event.

On the second day of the event, a man connected to a white supremacist group drove his car into a crowd of protesters, killing one woman and injuring 19.

One of Pistolis’ victims was Emily Gorcenski, a data scientist and trans woman from Charlottesville.

After the assault, Pistolis bragged online about assaulting a transgender individual on the University of Virginia campus. He also bragged about keeping a flag soaked in his victims’ blood as a memento, ProPublica reported.

After the incident, several military leaders, including Marine Gen. Robert Neller, tweeted their condemnation of the violence committed by service members.

Pistolis wasn’t the first member of Atomwaffen to be convicted.

Three people related to the group have been charged with five murders, according to ProPublica.

Samuel Woodard, 20, is on trial for the stabbing death of a Jewish college student in California.

A 17-year-old in Virginia is facing trial for killing his ex-girlfriend’s parents for allegedly keeping their daughter away from him. The teen had aspired to join the ranks of Atomwaffen.

Atomwaffen recruit Devon Arthur is on trial for the murder of two Florida-based Atomwaffen members.

While investigating Arthur for the murders, authorities first encountered Brandon Russell, Atomwaffen’s founder.

Russell was arrested last year after authorities found explosives and bomb-making materials in his apartment.

At the time, Russell was a private first class serving in Florida’s Army National Guard, the Tampa Bay Times had reported. He also spoke online and in chat rooms about plans to attack infrastructure and commit murder.

In ProPublica’s investigation, they found that Atomwaffen frequently encourages members to join the military in order to gain weapons training to use in the group’s efforts.

Despite the violence associated with the group, the FBI has not commented on the group or any associated investigation.