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San Antonio father, son sentenced for roles in Jan. 6 riot at U.S. Capitol

San Antonio Express News logo San Antonio Express News 11/2/2022 By Guillermo Contreras, Staff writer
James Herman "Sonny" Uptmore of San Antonio is seen talking outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, after he and his son entered with rioters seeking to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden as president.. He and his son were sentenced Wednesday for minor roles in the Jan. 6 riot. © Federal Court Records

James Herman "Sonny" Uptmore of San Antonio is seen talking outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, after he and his son entered with rioters seeking to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden as president.. He and his son were sentenced Wednesday for minor roles in the Jan. 6 riot.

A father and son from San Antonio were sentenced Wednesday for their roles in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

James Herman “Sonny” Uptmore took his son, Chance, to then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally for his 24th birthday because Chance wanted to hear Trump speak, according to Chance Uptmore’s lawyer, John Convery of San Antonio.

After the rally, the pair entered the Capitol with Trump supporters and recorded the melee that followed, according to federal prosecutors, who sought 45 days in jail for Chance Uptmore, and 21 days of jail for his father.

READ MORE: Texan pleads guilty to chemical spraying officers during Jan. 6 riots

In Washington, Senior U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth sentenced Chance Uptmore to 30 days in jail and 36 months of probation, to be served with another sentence for a firearm charge in San Antonio. The judge gave James Uptmore 36 months of probation, with 21 days of home confinement.

Each agreed to pay $500 in restitution as part of their plea agreements.

Each pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor charge of illegally parading, demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol. They faced no more than six months in jail.

Convery and James Uptmore’s attorney, Christopher Adams, asked Lamberth to sentence their clients to probation. They argued the father and son didn’t hurt anyone or cause any damage, and even helped prevent others from stealing a painting and throwing a barrier at the building.

Urged by Trump, his supporters marched on the Capitol and tried to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden as president.

“They weren’t politically active before, and don’t plan to be politically active in the future,” Convery said in an interview after Wednesday’s hearings.

Court records said James Uptmore runs a powder-coating company in San Antonio. His son works for him as a manager.

Convery said he told the judge that the Uptmores followed Trump’s directive to march to the Capitol, with the defeated president telling the crowd at the rally that he’d be “right behind them.” Trump did not join the rioters.

In sentencing memorandums filed before Wednesday’s hearing, prosecutors said the Uptmores watched rioters fight with and overtake police, but still paraded into the Capitol — despite having seen officers use tear gas against the rioters to try to stop their advances.

The pair also saw rioters use chemical spray against police. And despite watching other rioters climb scaffolding outside the Capitol, the pair entered a hallway of the Old Senate Chamber, where police were holding a line against the mob, which was trying to enter the Senate chamber. They were in that hallway when an officer released tear gas to disperse the mob, the feds said.

“Additionally, and significantly, Chance Uptmore took videos and photographs of the violence, property damage and tear gas as he and his father made their way up to and inside the Capitol building,” the government’s sentencing memorandum for Chance Uptmore states. “And despite all that he had seen, Chance Uptmore posted on his Facebook page later that day that ‘the violence was minimal’ and ‘The cops were saying stuff like ‘we stand with you’ and ‘thanks for being here,’”

Chance Uptmore deactivated his social media account in the weeks after the attack, prosecutors said.

Lamberth admonished the Uptmores that, once they saw that the rally and march had turned into a riot, they should have turned around and gone home, according to Convery.

Chance Uptmore had been using drugs as a way to cope with the death of one of his brothers, according to a sentencing memo filed by Convery.

Chance Uptmore described himself as a “weedaholic” when FBI agents investigating the riot searched the home he shared with his father in early 2021. Agents found 16 pounds of marijuana and various THC products, one-third of a pound of psilocybin mushrooms and a loaded.38 caliber revolver in Chance Uptmore’s bedroom.

At a trial in San Antonio, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery found him guilty of one count of unlawful use of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm, a federal felony. Biery sentenced him in July to three months of house arrest and five years of probation.

Since the riot, Chance Uptmore has been extremely remorseful, cooperated with the FBI and turned his life around, Convery said. He said his client has gotten married and is expecting a child.

The judge allowed Chance Uptmore to self-surrender by February and his father to begin serving his sentence after the pair returns to San Antonio.

“They accepted responsibility and want to put this behind them,” Convery said.| Twitter: @gmaninfedland


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