In the 14 months since a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the United States Capitol in a deadly failed insurrection, hundreds of the participants have since been arrested on charges ranging from misdemeanors all the way to seditious conspiracy.
The former President's long-debunked conspiracy theories about the validity of the 2020 election and his years-long disinformation campaign painting members of the press and any other critics as traitors to the United States drove his supporters to do the unthinkable in his defense. They shattered windows, ransacked offices, beat police officers, and threatened to kill any lawmaker they perceived as disloyal to then-President Donald Trump.
Now, the first Capitol rioter case to go to trial is underway.
Guy Reffitt is charged with multiple felonies for his role in the failed insurrection, with the prosecution claiming he carried a loaded pistol into the Capitol amid the chaos. Now his teenage son has testified against him.
Reffitt is allegedly part of the Three Percenters militia, an loosely organized group predicated on the belief that a small number of so-called patriots can overthrow the government over what they perceive as tyranny.
His son, 19 year old Jackson Reffitt, was alarmed by his father's increasingly extremist rhetoric in the aftermath of the November 2020 election. After Guy Reffitt informed his son he'd be going to D.C. and that "What's about to happen will shock the world," Jackson sent a tip to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that Christmas.
It wasn't until after the January 6 attack, which the Reffitt family (minus Guy) watched unfold on television, that Jackson was contacted by the FBI. He secretly recorded his father after his return to Texas. Guy bragged that he'd never felt more patriotic. Jackson Reffitt was kicked out of the house after his family learned of the recording. He's since raised hundreds of thousands on a GoFundMe after a CNN appearance last year detailing his experience.
Guy also allegedly threatened to shoot Jackson and his sister for being "traitors."
But Thursday trial was a much more regretful scene. Guy, according to a CBS reporter watching the trial, broke down crying as his son entered the courtroom to testify. Guy's wife, Jodi Reffitt, was "clearly distraught" as well, according to a senior affairs reporter at Politico.
In addition to providing the recording, Jackson also identified various Three Percenters memorabilia around his father's house.
The scene, while sad, led social media users to praise Jackson's willingness to testify.
The 19 year old son is more emotionally mature than his father.
— Pink Freud MA, MSW LISW-S (@alaskarebel) March 3, 2022
I hope that kid is safe.
— Mole Rat supports Ukraine 🌻 (@MCFS581) March 4, 2022
When a kid has more steel in his spine and a moral 🧭 than members of Congress and White House staff, I fear for us all.
— Sue "Russian warship go F yourself!" 🇺🇦 (@Sue99339007) March 3, 2022
His son is the true patriot.
— 🌻Democracy Enthusiast🌻 (@TerriIsSickOfU) March 3, 2022
Meanwhile, people weren't exactly sympathetic for Guy.
They thought they would be heros. That's how brainwashed they are.
— desewell (@SewellDelee) March 3, 2022
Might have salvaged that relationship if you didn't threaten to, y'know, murder him and his sister, Guy. pic.twitter.com/4FtmdYU7kb
— Jeanne Burch (@bulmasan) March 4, 2022
Tears of self-pity are easy to shed.
— James Ivan PItts (@JamesIvanPitts1) March 3, 2022
Coups have consequences.
— ArcticDonkey (@ArcticDonkey1) March 3, 2022
How the heck does a person wind up here?
— ican see (@iicsthruu) March 3, 2022
What a mess.