A federal judge has sentenced a Gorham man to 30 days in federal prison – twice as much time as prosecutors sought – for participating in the storming of the U.S. Capitol last year.

Nicholas Hendrix, 35, pleaded guilty in June to one misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building on Jan. 6. He is among more than 900 others who have been charged by the federal government for violence and the obstruction of an official Congressional proceeding and the first Maine resident to be sentenced.

A Facebook post recovered from Nicholas Hendrix’s phone, showing him arriving in Washington, D.C. to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021. U.S. federal court filings

“I accept responsibility for what I have done,” Hendrix said Friday in a brief statement to U.S. District Judge Colleen Kottar-Kotelly, appearing in the Washington courtroom via Zoom. “I am better than my actions on Jan. 6.”

A veteran of the U.S. Army who served twice in Iraq in the 2000s, Hendrix has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder from his time overseas and is in long-term recovery from an addiction to opioids. The father of three young children, ages 2 to 8 years old, as well as two stepchildren, he works across southern Maine as a licensed pipe fitter and has an associate’s degree in metal working.

In a letter to Kottar-Kotelly in October, Hendrix wrote that he felt “shame” for being at the U.S. Capitol that day, for “letting group pressure suck me in” and for believing “people saying things that sound real but are not true.”

Although there was debate Friday before Hendrix’s sentencing about whether he should spend any time in prison, Kottar-Kotelly ultimately ruled to place him behind bars for 30 days, followed by three months on probation. She could have sentenced him to up to six months in prison.


“Your presence and action by joining others in insurrection was an inexcusable attack on our democracy, and the peaceful transfer of power according to the Constitution,” Kottar-Kotelly said. “Having been overseas, deployed in other places, you should appreciate what an extraordinary country you live in. … You should appreciate how lucky you are to live in a democracy as opposed to some other country ruled by an authoritarian. You’ve certainly had firsthand contact with that.”


Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Rochlin had sought a sentence of two weeks in prison, followed by three years on probation, as a “deterrent” to anyone watching who might consider challenging the country’s democratic process.

David Beneman, a federal public defender in Portland, asked for no jail time and one year on probation. Beneman said Hendrix has been sober for the last four years, and that incarceration would be “counterproductive” to all of Hendrix’s work on recovery and self-improvement. At the end of Hendrix’s sentencing hearing, Beneman raised issues as to whether Hendrix would have adequate access to treatment for substance use disorder, and requested he go to a facility where medication-assisted treatment is an option.

Kottar-Kotelly said the Bureau of Prisons will decide where Hendrix serves his sentence.

Hendrix arrived in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, via a bus from Newton, Massachusetts, after seeing former president Donald Trump’s calls for “patriots” to attend a “stop the steal” rally being held as Congress was set to certify the 2020 Electoral College vote. Hendrix has admitted to illegally being in the Capitol for 90 seconds before exiting and unsuccessfully attempting to enter a second time.


Kottar-Kotelly said Friday that, upon reviewing video evidence against Hendrix several times, he appeared to spend a lot of time pushing against police and trying to enter.

“I looked at this video more than once and it’s not what I expected to see,” Kottar-Kotelly said. “What I think is a red herring in this case is the focus on his short duration in the Capitol. It sort of distracts from the gravity of the misconduct.”

Rochlin told Kottar-Kotelly that the only reason Hendrix did not reenter the Capitol building was because officers were spraying chemical irritants.


“Mr. Hendrix was someone that should’ve known better,” said Rochlin, referring to his experience in the U.S. armed forces and an oath he took to uphold the U.S. Constitution. “Yet he was willing to remain with a crowd that was chanting to hang the vice president.”

Beneman said he thought of Hendrix as more of an “observer” than a participator. When Beneman watched the videos, he said, he heard no narration from Hendrix.


“There’s no commentary by Mr. Hendrix,” Beneman said. “He’s not joining in any of the chanting the government has identified.”

Beneman added that Hendrix did not shout slurs or make related statements on social media or to the media since that day, unlike others who stormed the Capitol. However, pictures from Jan. 6 show Hendrix carrying a large poster that read “Stop the Communist & Terrorist Revolution” and wearing a “Biden sucks! Kamala swallows!” T-shirt, which Kottar-Kotelly called “crude and crass.”

Much of the evidence used against Hendrix was captured on his own cellphone, along with surveillance cameras from the Capitol. Video footage shows him pushing past police with other rioters, climbing over broken windows and busted doors to illegally enter the Capitol building.

Hendrix voluntarily gave federal investigators his phone, in addition to over evidence used to prosecute him, including the T-shirt and poster.

Hendrix is one of roughly 900 people who stormed the U.S. Capitol on the day Congress was set to certify the 2020 Electoral College vote. More than 400 of them have either pleaded guilty or been found guilty at trial. At least 300 people already have been sentenced, with punishments ranging from a few hundred dollars in restitution to five years in prison.



There are at least five defendants with Maine ties, two of whom have yet to go to trial.

Kyle Fitzsimons, a Lebanon man who was found guilty of assaulting at least three officers and trying to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election, will be sentenced in February. He could face up to 91 years in federal prison for his felony charges.

Glen Mitchell Simon, who lives in Georgia but is from Minot, was sentenced to eight months in prison in August after pleading guilty to disorderly and disruptive conduct for using a metal bicycle rack to push away officers who were trying to prevent the mob from entering the Capitol.

Jefferson resident Joshua Colgan, 35, is awaiting trial after he pleaded not guilty in July to four misdemeanor charges.

South Paris resident Todd Tilley, 61, was charged in June with four misdemeanors, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

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