A convicted Capitol rioter has been sentenced to a month and a half in prison, after claiming her loyalty to Donald Trump stemmed from nearly getting hit by one of his golf balls.
Prosecutors say Mariposa Castro, who also goes by Imelda Acosta, was among the mob that stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. In videos she posted to Facebook, she could be seen climbing into the building through a broken window.
“I’m going in,” she narrated, according to the criminal complaint against her. “I’m going in, I’m going in the Capitol. We’re in. We’re inside the Capitol house. We got inside the Capitol.”
Later, the complaint says, Ms Castro left the building after breathing in a “chemical irritant.” In subsequent videos, she could be seen walking away from the Capitol with another person, chanting threatening messages like “We’re coming” and “This is war.”
Ms Castro was arrested 15 days later and charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
In a deal with prosecutors, Ms Castro pleaded guilty only to the parading charge. On Wednesday, she was sentenced to 45 days in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Before her sentencing, Ms Castro’s lawyer, Elita Amato, explained the origins of her client’s loyalty to Mr Trump.
“In 2006, Ms Acosta [aka Ms Castro] and her husband took a trip to Pebble Beach to play golf,” Ms Amato said in her sentencing memo.
“During one of these golf games they almost got hit by a golf ball of another player. Ms Acosta turned to look in the direction of the putter and saw it was Trump. They ended up having an amicable conversation together.”
The lawyer said this was not necessarily what turned Ms Castro into a devoted “Trump fan,” but it “certainly gave her a positive image of him and she supported him during his run for president.”
Over the next several years, Ms Castro attended numerous Trump rallies, and on 6 January, she and her husband traveled to Washington, DC to attend the outgoing president’s speech.
Afterward, Ms Amato said, they returned to their hotel instead of following the crowd making its way to the Capitol – but after turning on the TV and seeing the rioters swarming the Capitol, Ms Castro decided to go join them.
“Now of course she greatly regrets this decision,” Ms Amato wrote.
At Ms Castro’s sentencing, the judge overseeing the case harshly admonished her.
“I’ve been reading a couple books about how civil war starts, and so much of history is repeating itself in our country,” US District Judge Reggie Walton said, according to NBC News. “I love this country, this country has been good to me, and to see what people are trying to do to this country… is just very concerning.”
Ms Castro tearfully expressed her remorse.
“I don’t glorify my actions,” she said. “I got caught up on the energy, and if I could go back and change things over, I definitely would have brought more peace.”
Since the 6 January assault on the Capitol, more than 750 people have been arrested and charged in connection to it. The FBI has estimated that about 2,000 people took part in the insurrection.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.