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News / Politics

Veteran ‘enamored’ with Hitler gets 4 years for Capitol riot

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press
Published: May 8, 2023, 1:50pm

A military veteran who told an undercover FBI agent about his admiration for Adolf Hitler and discussed a plan to “wipe out” the nation’s Jewish population was sentenced on Monday to four years in prison for storming the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden ordered Virginia resident Hatchet Speed to serve the four-year sentence after he completes a separate three-year prison term for a conviction on firearms offenses, court records show.

The FBI recorded Speed’s conversations with the undercover agent more than a year after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. The agent posed as “a like-minded individual” while meeting with Speed at least three times in 2022.

Speed, 41, was “deeply worried” about Democrat Joe Biden’s presidency and believed false claims that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from Donald Trump, the Republican incumbent, prosecutors wrote in a court filing. He told the undercover agent that he believes Jewish people control Biden.

Speed expressed his admiration for Hitler during the recorded conversation, calling him “one of the best people that’s ever been on this earth.” He also “outlined a plan to enlist Christians to wipe out the country’s entire Jewish population,” prosecutors said in a court filing.

“It is not clear why this military veteran with a (security) clearance became enamored with Hitler, began to embrace street fighting, and call for the execution of the country’s entire Jewish population,” prosecutors wrote. “What is clear, though, is that this defendant committed a serious offense and continues to threaten the safety of the community, posing a serious danger.”

McFadden heard trial testimony without a jury before convicting Speed of all five charges in his indictment, including a felony count of obstructing the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress for certifying the Electoral College vote. The judge also convicted Speed of four misdemeanors.

Speed’ four-year sentence matched the prison term recommended by prosecutors. McFadden also sentenced Speed to three years of supervised release after his prison term and ordered him to pay a $10,000 fine plus $2,000 in restitution.

The undercover agent testified under a pseudonym at a separate trial for Speed in Virginia on gun charges. After a retrial in January, a jury convicted Speed of three counts of unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm silencer. In April, U.S. District Judge Michael Nachmanoff sentenced Speed to three years in prison.

Speed was a member of the Proud Boys, joining the far-right extremist group in 2020, according to prosecutors. He also was a petty officer first class in the U.S. Naval Reserves and was assigned to the Naval Warfare Space Field Activity at the National Reconnaissance Office, the FBI said.

The National Reconnaissance Office operates U.S. spy satellites used by the Pentagon and intelligence agencies. The agency said Speed was not part of the reserve unit at the time of the Capitol riot.

On Jan. 6, Speed drove to Washington, D.C, from his home in Vienna, Virginia. After attending the “Stop the Steal” rally, where Trump addressed a crowd of supporters, Speed joined other Proud Boys in marching to the Capitol.

Around 3 p.m., Speed entered the building through a door to the Senate wing of the Capitol after other rioters breached it. He remained inside the Capitol for roughly 40 minutes.

Speed was arrested in June 2022 on riot-related misdemeanor charges. A grand jury later indicted him on the felony obstruction charge.

Speed’s conduct on Jan. 6 “was one step on a disturbing path toward racially motivated criminal conduct — that ultimately featured plans for the kidnapping and mass murder of civilians,” prosecutors wrote.