The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Capitol rioter who said she wanted to shoot Pelosi is headed to prison

Woman, who in May won a GOP primary in a local committeeperson race in Pennsylvania, gets 60-day sentence

The scene at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (John Minchillo/AP)
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A Pennsylvania woman who entered the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot and later recorded herself saying she wanted to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “in the frigging brain” has been sentenced to 60 days behind bars.

Dawn Lee Bancroft, 59, of Doylestown was also sentenced to three years of probation and 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay a restitution of $500.

Bancroft is among the 800-plus people who were arrested and charged with seizing the U.S. Capitol building to contest the presidential election results. She is among the almost 200 people who have been sentenced, while others await trials and work out plea agreements.

Bancroft pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. The maximum sentence for the charge carried six months of incarceration and up to $5,000 in fines.

Carina Laguzzi, Bancroft’s attorney, told The Washington Post that incarceration for the misdemeanor charge of trespassing is “overly punitive,” especially for people with no criminal history.

During Bancroft’s sentencing hearing Thursday, prosecutors argued that the government was being fair considering she unlawfully entered the Capitol twice on Jan. 6 and her comments about Pelosi (D-Calif.) were made within earshot of an unwieldy crowd, CBS News congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane reported in a series of tweets.

The hearing focused heavily on the video Bancroft made and shared with a friend, who in turn alerted authorities. Bancroft, however, was never charged with making a threat.

Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia told Bancroft her comments are not acceptable in a democratic society and stated that he felt sorry for her, CNN reported.

“The comments made by you on the steps of the Capitol in the presence of others ... they were reckless statements that people should be held accountable for,” he said, according to CNN. “How many others left there that day [thinking], ‘Hey, next time I come I’m going to bring my bullets for Nancy’?”

Bancroft told the court that she regretted her decisions, explaining that her gym she owns had lost its CrossFit affiliation since she was charged and that she and her adult children have often been harassed or threatened.

In May, Bancroft won a primary race to be the Republican candidate for committeeperson in Doylestown Borough’s 2nd District.

Bucks County Republican Committee Chair Patricia K. Poprick told the Philadelphia Inquirer that she had never met Bancroft and that the group will probably “have to have a conversation with her” about her sentencing and committee role.

The committee publicly condemned the actions of Jan. 6 rioters. “We cannot allow violence to undermine the rule of law,” the GOP group tweeted on Jan. 6, 2021. “While we can be passionate about our beliefs and engage in peaceful protest, we must not revert to violence.”

The committee did not respond to a request for comment.