Unvaccinated Capitol riot suspect asks to be spared jail time because of COVID concerns

Unvaccinated Capitol riot suspect asks to be spared jail time because of COVID concerns
US Capitol Grounds East Plaza off First Street and East Capitol Street, Washington DC on Wednesday afternoon, 6 January 2021 by Elvert Barnes Photography

A Capitol riot suspect is asking a judge for leniency amid concerns about exposure to COVID-19.

On Friday, October 8, NBC4 Washington reporter Scott MacFarlane reported that Dona Bissey, of Indiana, is seeking to avoid jail time because she fears incarceration will increase her chances of catching COVID.

According to Business Insider, the 52-year-old faced four charges "including entering and remaining in a restricted building, violent entry, and disorderly conduct in the Capitol."

A.J. Kramer, the public defender representing Bissey, wrote a statement on her behalf as they expressed concerns about the increased risk of contracting COVID behind bars.

"Simply put, if Ms. Bissey is incarcerated at the D.C. Jail or in the BOP, which has seen 259 inmate deaths and over 43,000 infections from COVID-19, she is extremely likely to suffer severe illness or even death," Bissey's attorney wrote in the filing. The attorney acknowledged that his client "has not helped her chances of fighting the virus by remaining unvaccinated."

Bissey, who describes herself as "God-fearing" and "law-abiding," despite violating the law when she stormed the U.S. Capitol with other rioters, is requesting 18 months of probation in lieu of jail time.

Bissey is one of more than 650 individuals facing charges in connection with the U.S. Capitol riots.

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