NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Jan. 6 rioter from Nashville known as “Zip Tie Guy” was sentenced on Friday to nearly five years in prison for his role in the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol.
Eric Munchel, 32, was found guilty of five felonies and three misdemeanors earlier this year.
Munchel’s mother Lisa Eisenhart, 59, who also breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was sentenced on Friday to two-and-a-half years in prison. Eisenhart was found guilty of two felonies and five misdemeanors, including conspiracy to commit obstruction.
Prosecutors shared photos in documents filed this week showing Munchel and Eisenhart at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Munchel was photographed carrying flexible plastic handcuffs in the Senate chamber while armed with a stun gun.
Prosecutors initially requested Munchel be sentenced to four years and nine months in prison along with three years of supervised release. They said his mother should have been sentenced to three years and 10 months incarceration with three years of supervised release.
Dr. Edward Rubin, a distinguished professor of law and political science at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University, explained one thought the judges might have weighed in their sentencing.
“This was a planned activity,” said Dr. Rubin. “Everybody in Nashville knows what’s involved in traveling from Nashville to Washington, D.C. — you don’t just do that casually. And it was planned and coordinated, coming from superior forces of various kinds, and instructing them what to do and what they did.”
Munchel had been a bartender in the Nashville area at the time of the attack. His mother was a nurse from Woodstock, Georgia.
Munchel’s defense attorney, in a sentencing memorandum, claimed the riot had been mischaracterized as a threat to democracy. He also blasted what he described as “fearmongering” descriptions of the events of Jan. 6.
“To speak of those events in this manner particularly when discussing an individual defendant is unjust and misleading,” Munchel’s defense attorney, Joseph W. Allen, wrote. “From 1776 to the present, Americans have always undertaken to voice their freedom of self-rule in a boisterous manner.”
Dr. Rubin explained why the judge, and other legal experts, would feel differently.
“The revolution of 1776 was an effort to oppose oppression by a foreign power. What happened on January 6 was an effort to impose oppression by violence against the U.S. government,” said Dr. Rubin. “Those are two very different uses of violence. And I don’t even think the second one merits the term revolution, certainly not as we use it in our history books.”