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Prosecutors seek years in prison for Utah man's role in Capitol assault

Posted at 12:40 PM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-30 19:19:16-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Department of Justice is asking a judge to sentence a Utah man to 52 months in prison for assaulting police officers during the U.S. Capitol insurrection.

In what’s called a sentencing memo filed Monday in federal court in Washington, prosecutors contend Landon Copeland has not shown remorse for fighting with officers on Jan. 6, 2021. The document describes Copeland pushing a rioter into a police officer.

When other police came to that officer’s aid, the Justice Department says, Copeland fought with them for up to two minutes. A few minutes later, Copeland joined another rioter in trying to wrestle from police a metal bike rack they were trying to use as a crowd control gate.

The memo says video from that day disproves Copeland’s contention he made to FOX 13 News during an interview last year — that police were the aggressors that day and he was trying to protect people being injured by officers.

“Copeland put himself at the front of the crowd,” the memo says, “in a position to confront officers, and fight with them. Over the course of about five minutes, Copeland committed multiple assaults against multiple officers. Those assaults stemmed from hand-to-hand combat; essentially, they were part of a brawl.”

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9.

Copeland was dishonorably discharged from the Army after he was caught growing marijuana and has a handful of other arrests across the country. Prosecutors also cited his history in arguing for the prison sentence.

He has been in the jail in Hurricane, Utah, for about 14 months. Tuesday, Copeland’s mother, Francine Copeland, told FOX 13 News the judge should sentence her son to that time served.

“I just think it's disgraceful,” Francine Copeland said, “that you serve two terms of duty in the military, and they really don't take into account the damage that happened while he was in the military. And he came home, not a complete person mentally.”

An earlier mental evaluation ordered by the federal court found Landon Copeland was fit to aid in his own defense.

On Friday, another Utahn, Landon Manwaring, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count and admitted to entering the Senate wing during the riot. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 21.

Court records show Manwaring and his mother traveled to Washington to attend President Donald Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, then followed the crowd into the U.S. Capitol. The pair remained inside for about 30 minutes, the records say.

There’s no indication Manwaring’s mother has been charged with any crimes.

Manwaring is the sixth Utahn to plead guilty to an offense stemming from the Capitol insurrection. Four other Utahns are awaiting trial.

Utah court records show Manwaring in July pleaded guilty in a Vernal courtroom to a felony count of dealing in materials harmful to a minor.

A probable cause statement says Manwaring in May was using a dating app to chat with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl. The statement says he sent a sexually explicit photograph of himself and described a location to meet. Once he arrived there, police arrested him.

Manwaring faces up to five years in prison on that count when he is sentenced in October.