Malheur occupier Ritzheimer sentenced to prison

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Jon Ritzheimer, one of the higher-profile occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, was sentenced to prison Thursday for his role in the 2016 standoff.

In August 2016, Ritzheimer admitted to a judge he conspired with Ammon Bundy and others to prevent Interior Department employees from doing their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

He took that plea deal before seven co-defendants. including Ammon and Ryan Bundy, were acquitted of the same charge. He tried to withdraw his guilty plea, but a judge rejected that.

On Thursday, Ritzheimer was sentenced to 366 days in federal prison, then a year in a residential re-entry center plus 3 years of supervised release.

Judge Anna Brown discussed credit for time served and Ritzheimer will get credit for the approximately 2 months he spent in jail. The 12-months-and-1-day sentence also allows Ritzheimer to be eligible for a reduced sentence for good behavior.

As the occupation unfolded, Ritzheimer became known for an emotional video in which he explained to his daughters why he couldn’t be home for the holidays. He said it was because “daddy swore an oath” to defend the Constitution.

Before coming to Oregon, he made news by organizing protests outside a Phoenix mosque and threatening to arrest a U.S. senator for supporting the Iran nuclear deal.

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