By Kevin Deutsch
The Coral Springs man who participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots avoided prison time at his sentencing Friday, despite federal prosecutors requesting he serve four months behind bars.
Felipe Marquez, 25, received a sentence of three months home confinement followed by 18 months of probation. According to Courthouse News Service, Marquez’s lawyer said Marquez has severe mental health issues and thought he had been going to the riots to protest communism.
“I was confused about why a lot of people were there,” Marquez told U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras. “I didn’t understand that people were going into the building to try to stop the certifications. I didn’t realize the extent of my mental health issues. I want to get help for this.”
“I wish I could take it back,” Marquez said of his actions.
Contreras, citing a slate of previous Jan. 6 cases in which prosecutors sought probation-only sentences, said Marquez’s case was “hard to distinguish” from the others. He said he hoped Marquez would take a “hard look at himself,” blaming his actions on a “confluence of events spurred on by then-President Donald Trump” and powerful pro-Trump voices.
Marquez pleaded guilty on Sept. 10 to Disorderly or Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds, a misdemeanor. He had faced up to one year in jail, probation, and a fine for damaging property in the Capitol building.
In a sentencing memo, prosecutors had said they would seek a sentence of four months federal prison time for Marquez, plus one year of supervised release and a $500 fine. The government previously agreed to drop a series of additional charges against Marquez in exchange for his guilty plea.
Marquez, who brought a Glock handgun along on his trip to Washington, D.C., had told the FBI he was “in the bathroom pooping when the violence occurred,” federal prosecutors said in their memo.
Marquez participated in the attack on the Capitol that forced an interruption of the certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote count, threatened the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 Presidential election, injured more than one hundred law enforcement officers, and resulted in more than one million dollars of property damage, according to the Department of Justice.
Marquez attended former President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally before breaching and illegally walking around inside the Capitol Building during the failed insurrection, recording himself while inside a “hideaway” office of Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (D), and sitting at the senator’s conference table with other rioters, court records show.
With dozens of other mob members, Marquez had physically entered the Capitol building through the Senate Wing Door, just after the mob breached the entrance, prosecutors said. A line of police officers had been physically keeping the mob back, but they eventually overpowered the officers by pushing them backward, prosecutors said in Marquez’s sentencing memo.
Marquez spent about 53 minutes inside the Capitol itself after driving from Florida to Washington, D.C., with a Glock pistol in his Tesla, “though he apparently did not remove it from the car while in Washington, D.C.,” prosecutors wrote.
“Marquez admitted to driving to Washington, D.C., with his Glock firearm, but says he left the firearm disassembled in a locked case in his car when he was at the Capitol to comply with local laws,” prosecutors wrote.
During the rioting inside the Capitol Building, Marquez recorded video of himself repeatedly asking police officers for a “fist bump.”
Once in Merkley’s office, Marquez took video of himself holding “his vape pen up to the camera, as if to capture the arrogance of the rioters (himself included) smoking in a senator’s office during an Electoral College certification proceeding to formally elect the next President of the United States,” according to the sentencing memo.
After the FBI caught up with Marquez, he told agents he’d “spent a considerable amount of time in the bathroom” while inside the Capitol.
“The government does not have information to confirm or dispute this assertion,” prosecutors wrote.
More recently, Marquez ran “an end-run around” around a judicial order to surrender his handguns by signing them over to his roommate, prosecutors said.
He showed up on law enforcement’s radar again on Aug. 6 at the Coral Square Mall when a Coral Springs Police Officer found him toting around a black plastic firearms case with the word GLOCK written on it.
“The police officer wrote that when he ‘encountered the subject [Marquez], subject confirmed that he has a weapon on him and that his CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) license was suspended,” according to prosecutors. “Subject had admitted that carrying a weapon in a public place such as a mall is inappropriate, but he did it as a sign of protest for suspension of his CCW.’ Marquez then left the mall voluntarily.”
“Walking around a mall with an obvious firearm in a case, while on pretrial release for a felony offense, demonstrates both poor judgment and potential danger to the community,” prosecutors wrote. “There is a need for specific deterrence here because Marquez’s actions even after arrest do not indicate that he appreciates the severity of his criminal conduct.”
But Contreras was not swayed to send Marquez to prison.
According to the government, more than 500 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol riots, including some in a wide-ranging conspiracy involving the Oath Keepers extremist group. Most of the riot participants sentenced so far have received sentences well below the maximum penalties.
Send to Coral Springs #1 Award-Winning News Site Here.
- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
- Crime & Safety2022.01.27“I Don’t Think It’s Okay”: Coral Springs Man Arrested on Child Porn Charges
- Crime & Safety2022.01.26Family of Coral Springs Man Killed by Teen Driver: He Had ‘Such a Bright Future’
- Crime & Safety2022.01.25Driver in Deadly Ferrari Crash Notches Legal Wins Against BSO
- News2022.01.25Florida Closes Monoclonal Antibody Sites After FDA Revokes Authorization