Roger Witthoeft: Slain Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt's brother convicted of hate crime, faces up to 1 yr in jail
Roger Stefan Witthoeft, 34, was convicted of misdemeanor battery with a hate crime allegation and violating a victim’s civil rights
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: A San Diego Jury has convicted the half-brother of Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was killed during the January 6 Capitol riot. Roger Stefan Witthoeft Jr was charged with a hate crime in 2021 and now faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Witthoeft, 34, of Ocean Beach, California, was convicted of misdemeanor battery with a hate crime allegation and violating a victim’s civil rights, San Diego District Attorney Mara W Elliott said in a statement on Wednesday, November 9.
“This jury has sent a clear message that violent, abusive, and racist conduct like this has no place in our community. My Office will continue to prosecute and hold accountable people who commit hate crimes, and I urge victims and witnesses to report all such activity,” Elliot wrote. Witthoeft is scheduled to be sentenced on December 13.
Witthoeft was first charged in 2021. As per the document, he aggressively confronted a Latino, San Diego Gas & Electric traffic employee at the intersection of Voltaire Street and Mendocino Boulevard on September 14, 2021, who was diverting traffic around a work site. The prosecutors alleged, Witthoeft assaulted the worker, and called him an “(expletive) immigrant.” He also yelled at him to “talk in English,” although the two were already communicating in English, as per the New York Post.
According to Elliott's statement, Witthoeft was previously convicted of vandalism for a 2016 confrontation with a 71-year-old Latino man in Lakeside. "The victim asked Witthoeft to move his pickup truck. Witthoeft came up to the victim’s truck, screaming, kicked the man’s door, and kicked a window out of his camper shell," the statement added further. As per a report in the San Diego Union-Tribute, Witthoeft had argued that it was spurred by “extreme stress and trauma” caused by the shooting death of his sister, Ashli Babbitt, on January 6, 2021, inside the US Capitol.
Babbitt, 35, was an Air Force veteran and an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump. Her death became a rallying cry for the far right, which described Babbitt as a martyr. Trump himself declared that she had been murdered and suggested, falsely, that the officer who shot her worked for a high-ranking Democrat, as per NBC.
Micheal Byrd, who shot Ashli, said to the outlet that he had no idea whether the person he shot was carrying a weapon. It was only later that night that he found out that the rioter was a woman who was unarmed and when asked why he pulled the trigger, Byrd said it was a “last resort.”