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Chandler man sentenced to probation for Jan. 6 breach of U.S. Capitol

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Tanner Bryce Sells of Chandler can be seen circled in red in this image from a security camera recording inside the U.S. Capitol during the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.

OKLAHOMA CITY — A judge put a Chandler man on probation for two years Tuesday and fined him $1,500 after he expressed little remorse for breaching the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Tanner Bryce Sells, 26, was ordered to spend the first 90 days of his probation on home detention.

He also must pay $500 in restitution and complete 50 hours of community service.

"I do appreciate the fact that you're willing to stand up and accept judgment, but I'm not sure that you actually understand what the problem was when you just call it a mistake," U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said.

"And I'm not sure what to make of the fact that your lawyer said you aren't proud of your participation but you said nothing to me on that subject."

The judge conducted the hearing in federal court in Washington, D.C. Sells appeared with his attorney by videoconference from Oklahoma City.

He pleaded guilty in September to a misdemeanor, illegally demonstrating inside the U.S. Capitol. Among the evidence against him were videos he posted on Facebook.

Sells spent a little more than five minutes inside the Capitol after hearing then-President Donald Trump speak at a rally, his attorney told the judge in a sentencing memo.

"He walked in. And he walked out," Assistant Federal Public Defender Kyle E. Wackenheim said Tuesday. "There's no talking. There's no chanting. There's no violence."

Sells had traveled to Washington, D.C., with members of his church to attend the rally.

"There's been a lot of people that's told me that I should come in here and apologize and show my remorse," Sells told the judge Tuesday.

"I have remorse for what I've done and all that. I made a mistake. But, in the same time, I'm …," he said, pausing.

"I'm a man of accountability," he continued. "And I'm willing to accept the mistakes that I made and accept your judgment in this."

Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Sells to 14 days' incarceration, followed by 36 months of probation and 60 hours of community service.

His attorney had asked for probation for one year.

The judge scolded Sells while imposing the punishment.

"I do want to make something clear, Mr. Sells," she said. "You were not prosecuted and you are not sitting in front of me today because you exercised your First Amendment right.

"You pled guilty to a federal offense. You broke the law. You're not here today because you supported the former president. Millions of people voted for him and did not heed his call to descend on the nation's Capitol.

"And there are plenty of people who came to hear the speeches that still managed to control themselves from entering the building."

She told Sells he was a participant in a mass effort to subvert democracy.

"You contributed to the dangerousness. And you contributed to the devastation," she said. "And you helped prolong the period of time before the halls could be cleared and secured and Congress could resume doing the people's business."

Sells, who runs a construction business, is allowed to go to work while on home detention. He also is allowed to go to church and pick up and return his son.

Among those writing a letter of support on his behalf was state Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston.

The legislator asked the judge for "your compassion in this process." The judge indicated during the sentencing that she had read that letter and others.

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