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Wellington Marine veteran sentenced to prison for attacking seven officers during Jan. 6 Capitol riot

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)

A combat-trained U.S. Marine veteran was sentenced Monday to more than two years in prison for attacking seven police officers during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Michael Mackrell, 42, of Wellington, served in the Marines from 2001 to 2006, including a tour in Iraq. He tackled several officers, threw one to the ground and punched another, according to prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington, D.C., handed down the two-year, three-month prison sentence and ordered he serve one year on post-prison supervision.

“As a sworn member of the U.S. Marine Corps, Mackrell took an oath to protect this country from foreign and domestic threats. Mackrell even won awards during his service for his dedication to fighting terrorism on behalf of the United States,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nialah Ferrer and Elizabeth Eriksen argued in court records. “He then became part of group that brought terror into our country.”

Mackrell previously pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer.

Prosecutors sought a 30-month prison sentence. Mackrell’s defense attorney, Claire Cahoon, argued for probation.

In written arguments before the sentencing, Cahoon argued that Mackrell had never before been in trouble and had served honorably in the Marines, including being wounded in combat and carrying out extremely dangerous missions. He ended his career as a sergeant.

She wrote that his actions during the Capitol attack were an “anomaly.”

“He is not a political extremist or a supporter of violence,” Cahoon wrote. “In fact, Mr. Mackrell feels particularly ashamed of his offense conduct as a retired Marine, as it was antithetical to his support for all branches of law enforcement and the rule of law.”

Mackrell brought his son to then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally, where the former president urged the crowd to “fight” to overturn the results of the election Trump lost to Joe Biden.

Mackrell wore a gas mask and, along with his son, immediately began attacking police officers upon arrival at the Capitol, according to prosecutors.

He pushed back on a group of police forming a barricade against rioters, forcing the officers to retreat. Mackrell later punched, pushed and tackled several officers. He threw one officer to the ground and grabbed another around the neck, according to prosecutors.

His son, Clifford Mackrell, was arrested by the FBI in 2021 and was sentenced earlier this month to two years and three months in prison, the same as his father. Investigators who interviewed Clifford Mackrell at his father’s home recognized Michael Mackrell’s face from videos of the Capitol attack and arrested him in March 2023.

“Although the government respects [his] service, [Michael] Mackrell’s violent attacks on police officers on January 6 was a betrayal of his Marine oath to protect and defend the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic,” prosecutors wrote. “His military service, particularly his training in the use of violent force, should have informed him of the great dangers arising from an attack on police by a violent mob of rioters who vastly outnumbered the officers.”


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