Eric Gavelek Munchel, famously known as “Zip-Tie Guy” due to a viral photo from the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection, has been sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison. His mother, Lisa Eisenhart, 59, also received a sentence of 2-and-a-half years for her involvement in the riot.
On the fateful day, Munchel, a 32-year-old Tennessee bartender and recent newlywed, stormed the U.S. Capitol, becoming an emblematic figure of the chaotic events. The widely circulated photo depicts Munchel dressed like a SWAT team member, leaping over a Senate gallery railing while clutching a handful of zip-tie handcuffs.
As Munchel and other rioters in support of Donald Trump infiltrated the gallery floor, several legislators preparing to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory evacuated in fear for their lives.
Following the assault on the Capitol, Munchel faced five felony charges, including two weapons-related counts and three misdemeanors. Additionally, his 59-year-old mother, a registered nurse residing in Georgia, was convicted in April of conspiracy to commit obstruction and obstruction of an official proceeding, both felonies, along with five related misdemeanors.
On September 8, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth handed down a combined sentence of 7.25 years in federal prison for Munchel and his mother. Eisenhart, who was attired in tactical gear and a MAGA hat during the riot, will serve 2.5 years behind bars, while her son will spend four years and nine months in custody.
Munchel’s defense argued for leniency, contending that he attended the Capitol protest with peaceful intentions. They maintained that his military-style attire was merely a fashion choice and that he carried a taser due to concerns about potential violence from the far-right group ANTIFA.
Contrary to these claims, charging documents revealed that Munchel was heard aggressively pushing his way into the Capitol while shouting slogans such as, “We ain’t playing fking nice no godd*mn more,” and “We’re fking ready to f**k sh*t up.”
In an interview with The Times of London after the riot, Munchel’s mother declared, “This country was founded on revolution… I’d rather die as a 57-year-old woman than live under oppression. I’d rather die and would rather fight.”