An Illinois man has been sentenced to 51 months in prison after being found guilty of multiple felony and misdemeanor charges related to his actions during the January 6th Capitol breach. Kevin James Lyons, 40, was convicted of unlawfully entering and remaining in restricted areas of the Capitol building, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of an official proceeding. In addition to his prison sentence, Lyons has been ordered to serve 36 months of supervised release and pay $2,000 in restitution to the Architect of the Capitol. As part of the evidence presented during the trial, it was revealed that Lyons filmed himself inside the House Speaker’s office, stole a framed photograph, and later posed with it in a photo. The investigation into the Capitol breach continues, with over 1,069 individuals arrested and charged nationwide.
On January 6, 2021, a joint session of the U.S. Congress was interrupted by a violent breach of the Capitol building. The breach was carried out by a mob of individuals who disagreed with the outcome of the presidential election. This event has been widely condemned as an attack on democracy and an assault on the rule of law. In the aftermath of the breach, investigations have been launched to identify and hold accountable those responsible for these criminal acts. One such individual is Kevin James Lyons from Chicago, Illinois, who was recently sentenced on multiple felony and misdemeanor convictions for his actions during the Capitol breach.
Overview of the Case
Kevin James Lyons, a 40-year-old resident of Chicago, was sentenced to 51 months in prison after being convicted of six charges related to his involvement in the Capitol breach. These charges include one felony and five misdemeanors. In addition to the prison term, Lyons was also ordered to serve 36 months of supervised release and pay $2,000 in restitution to the Architect of the Capitol.
The evidence presented during the trial showed that Lyons had actively participated in the events leading up to and during the breach. He had posted on his Instagram account, expressing his intention to travel to Washington, D.C. to “stop the steal.” On January 6, 2021, Lyons attended a rally on the Ellipse and later joined a crowd of other individuals as they made their way to the Capitol building. Throughout the day, Lyons recorded his actions on his cell phone and sent updates to others who were not present at the Capitol.
Timeline of Events
Jan. 5, 2021 – Lyons’ Instagram Post
On January 5, 2021, Lyons posted on his Instagram account a map with directions from his hometown in Chicago to Washington, D.C. In his post, he stated his intention to take action and prevent what he believed was an illegitimate outcome of the presidential election. This post provided evidence of his premeditated intent to participate in the Capitol breach.
Jan. 6, 2021 – Rally on the Ellipse
On January 6, 2021, Lyons attended a rally on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. This rally, organized by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, preceded the breach of the Capitol building. At the rally, Lyons likely heard speeches and messages that further fueled his belief in the necessity of taking action.
Jan. 6, 2021 – Actions at the Capitol Building
After the rally on the Ellipse, Lyons joined a crowd of individuals as they traveled to the Capitol building. Once on the Capitol grounds, they encountered tear gas and flashbangs that were deployed by law enforcement officers in an attempt to disperse the mob. Despite the presence of these measures, Lyons did not leave the grounds but instead declared his intention to storm the Capitol building.
As Lyons walked towards the Senate Wing doors, he yelled derogatory comments at police officers, accusing them of being oath breakers, Nazis, and traitors. These statements further demonstrated his intent to disrupt the proceedings and undermine the rule of law.
Actions at the Capitol Building
Encountering Tear Gas and Flashbangs
Upon entering the Capitol grounds, Lyons and other rioters were met with tear gas and flashbangs. Despite the presence of these crowd control measures, Lyons and others pressed forward, determined to breach the building.
Statements and Interactions with Police Officers
As Lyons continued his advance towards the Capitol building, he directed verbal abuses at police officers who were attempting to defend the premises. His derogatory comments, such as calling the officers “traitors” and “Nazi bastards,” were intended to provoke confrontation and incite further violence.
Entering the Capitol Building
Lyons successfully entered the Capitol building by bypassing security measures. Once inside, he continued his disruptive behavior by shouting and causing a commotion. These actions contributed to the chaotic atmosphere and threatened the safety of those present in the building.
Search for Speaker of the House
While inside the Capitol, Lyons joined others in searching for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He shouted her name repeatedly, creating a menacing atmosphere and adding to the overall sense of unease within the building.
Stealing Items from the House Speaker’s Office
Lyons made his way to the House Speaker’s office and filmed himself as he walked around and took a picture of himself reflected in a mirror. He also took a wallet from a coat hanging on a rack and placed it inside his pocket. He encouraged other rioters to steal items from the office, further contributing to the property damage and theft that occurred during the breach.
Removal of Framed Photograph
One of the items Lyons stole from the House Speaker’s office was a framed photograph of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the late Representative John Lewis. This photograph was a gift to Pelosi from a former staff member who had been on a trip with Lewis. Lyons later texted a picture of the photograph, bragging about his actions and acknowledging that he had committed multiple federal felonies.
Impact and Significance of the Stolen Photograph
The stolen photograph of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative John Lewis holds both personal and historical significance. The image represented a poignant moment captured during a trip to Ghana, where Pelosi and Lewis visited the Gate of No Return—a powerful symbol of the African diaspora. The theft of this photograph not only represented the violation of personal property, but it also undermined the historical and cultural importance of the image and its connection to the fight for civil rights.
Trial and Conviction
Following his arrest, Lyons faced trial and was found guilty on April 7, 2023, of multiple charges related to his actions during the Capitol breach. These charges included entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, entering and remaining in certain rooms in the Capitol building, disorderly conduct at the grounds and in a Capitol building, parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building, and obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting.
Prosecution and Investigative Support
The case against Kevin James Lyons was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. The prosecution received valuable support from the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.
The investigation into the Capitol breach was led by the FBI’s Washington and Chicago Field Offices. The U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department provided essential assistance throughout the investigation.
Overall Investigation and Arrests Made
Since January 6, 2021, more than 1,069 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for their involvement in the breach of the U.S. Capitol. These arrests have resulted in charges ranging from trespassing to assaulting or impeding law enforcement officers. The investigation into the Capitol breach remains ongoing, as law enforcement agencies continue to identify and apprehend those responsible for the criminal acts committed on that day.
Tips and Reporting
The public is encouraged to provide any information or tips related to the Capitol breach investigation. If you have information, you can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov. It is essential for individuals with knowledge of criminal activity to come forward and assist law enforcement in holding those responsible accountable for their actions.
The sentencing of Kevin James Lyons serves as a reminder of the serious consequences individuals face for their participation in criminal acts during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. Lyons’ actions, as described in the evidence presented during his trial, demonstrate a clear intent to disrupt the democratic process and to undermine the rule of law. The theft of the framed photograph from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office symbolized the disregard for personal and historical significance exhibited by those who participated in the breach. As the investigation into the breach continues, it is crucial for the public to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and provide any information or tips that can aid in identifying and prosecuting those responsible.
- District of Columbia Superior Court Reports
- U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia
- Department of Justice
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia
- U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. Capitol Police
- Metropolitan Police Department