Criminal justice professor explains what’s next for Kingsport man indicted in Capitol riot case

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(WJHL) — A grand jury has indicted a Kingsport man on several charges in connection with the Jan. 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol. A local criminal justice professor says the indictment of Albuquerque Head is the first step in the case against him.

The Department of Justice announced Friday that Head was indicted on ten counts ranging from civil disorder to acts of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings. Investigators say Head and two other men, Kyle James Young of Iowa, and Thomas Sibick of New York, assaulted a Metropolitan Police Department officer during the Capitol riot.

The Department of Justice says Head was arrested Wednesday, more than three months after the violence at the Capitol.

“The reason why it’s taken a while is from so much chaos in that day in January, and there’s so many people involved. And there was so much evidence, it just takes time to sift through this evidence,” said Eric Stanton, a criminal justice professor at Northeast State Community College.

Stanton says social media posts, witness accounts, or others facing charges who pointed fingers at Head could have led to his indictment and arrest.

“The FBI and other investigating agencies have to take time make sure that the evidence that they’re obtaining, they’re doing so lawfully, and they’re not infringing on anybody including this gentleman’s personal rights,” Stanton said. “And it takes time, and there’s so much evidence to gather in situations like this, so much video evidence, so much social media evidence.”

According to Stanton, 80 to 90% of cases are pled out before going to criminal court. He believes that will likely be the outcome of this case as well. If it goes to court it will first go to criminal court in a federal district court.

“As a result, he will have the opportunity and will probably be offered a plea bargain at some time by the federal prosecutors,” he said. “Basically, if you plead guilty to this one, or this one will drop the rest of them and going to reduce sentence or something of that nature, you know, come out in the wash, how will end up looking in the long run, but 13 charges, you know, pretty serious in nature.”

The police officer who was allegedly assaulted by Stanton could also sue in civil court for compensatory or punitive damages, Stanton said.

Regardless, Head is still innocent until proven guilty.

“We’ll have to see how that plays out in the court of law,” Stanton said.

Stanton explained that most of the charges Head faces are likely felonies, meaning if found guilty in a court of law, he could spend a minimum of a year or a maximum of a lifetime without the chance of parole in prison. If he faces misdemeanors, he could spend up to 11 months and 29 days in jail.

“If there’s a number of felonies, again, in the plea bargaining process, they will look at the most serious felonies and they may be willing – they being the prosecution – may be willing to drop some of the misdemeanors or some of the lower level felonies or even roll some together, possibly roll up a jail sentence or prison sentence roll up some of the years concurrently versus consecutively, in order for this individual and other individuals have been charged to go ahead and plead guilty to a lesser reduced charge,” Stanton. “So that’s what that’s what you see it it’s gonna be a plea bargaining process.”

Head faced a slew of charges in the Tri-Cities region years ago according to law enforcement and court records. Stanton explained that this could be held against him should he face a bail hearing.

“These are new charges. So these will be heard, as new charges in the in the federal system determination on those guilt or innocence will be made there. However, during the sentencing phase of it, if they end up having a sentencing phase, stuff, like what you’re talking about previous record stuff of that nature can be introduced. And that can help the judge to make the determination on how he or she feels this individual should be punished. A lot of times they’ll, you don’t see that much blending of the federal and state judicial systems when it comes to this as far as taking the previous state charge, especially if they’re misdemeanors, and then rolling them up into a federal case that’s looking at felonies, but it is possibly could they could use at it. Another thing that we’ll look at is if and when they assign this individual male, which again, he’s entitled to bail until it’s till his hearing until he’s found guilty. If they consider him a flight risk or something of that nature that can determine the bail and can raise it so stuff past history can make a determination there as well as when the judge is trying to determine bail or the magistrates trying to determine bail, but other than that, probably won’t be brought into the picture. At least the DUIs and stuff of that nature. But you know, as far as any aggravated domestics or anything of that nature, if they want to show that maybe he is hot headed or some type of temper or something of that nature, you know, it could be introduced, but again, it sounds like to me they have plenty of evidence to be able to prosecute this without having to go back and look at previous cases that he’s been involved with,” Stanton explained.

Follow News Channel 11’s Bianca Marais on Facebook and Twitter for news updates.

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