A Montana man was sentenced Wednesday to a year and a day in federal prison for his participation in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
Jake Ryan of Plains was found guilty of degradation of government property for digging trenches on a tribal burial site during the month-and-a-half long occupation of the refuge.
Ryan’s family recently organized an event in Paradise featuring Cliven and Ryan Bundy and other speakers prominent in the states’ rights movement. Ryan’s father, Dan, said Jake was watching a live stream of the event from home and thanked him for taking a stand at Malheur.
“We spent a weekend down there. He bonded with these men instantly, like we all did, and he knew he wanted to stay and do his part,” Dan Ryan says.
On Tuesday Ryan filed a motion to represent himself at his sentencing hearing, following the example of Malheur occupiers Ryan Bundy and Shawna Cox, who were both found not guilty in a separate trial.
The Associated Press reports a sentence of probation seemed likely heading into Wednesday's court appearance. Ryan, however, tried to fire his public defender, disregarded the authority of court and asserted that U.S. Attorney for Oregon, Billy Williams, brought false charges on behalf of an imaginary friend, the United States of America.
U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown described Ryan's arguments as "gibberish" and imposed the prison term.