ICED EARTH guitarist Jon Schaffer claims to have gone through "two months of hell" in jail after he was detained for his involvement in the January 6 Capitol riots.
Earlier today (Friday, July 23),Indianapolis Star published a detailed account based on Marion County Jail incident reports which reveal Schaffer was kept in "Administrative Segregation" after he was arrested by law enforcement in Noblesville, Indiana on January 17 because of his high-profile status.
Although Schaffer had no contact with other inmates while he was in his cell or out performing recreation, according to a spokesperson for the Marion County Sheriff's Office — the jail's custodian — nor was he ever taken out of administrative segregation, his lawyer claims that he was targeted with death threats and assaulted with human excrement while he was behind bars.
"My client, who is presumed innocent, has just gone through two months of hell where other people were throwing feces at him and urine at him and threatening his life in a horrible, horrible situation," Schaffer's attorney Marc J. Victor told a federal judge in March during Schaffer's detention hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. "Shame on us, Judge, that this is happening in our justice system," Victor added.
Schaffer was removed from his cell block on March 7 after he said he "was in fear for his personal safety," according to a deputy with the Marion County Sheriff's Office. Schaffer informed the deputy about problems he was having with a specific inmate. The next day, Schaffer complained that three inmates, including the one mentioned in the March 7 report, were making death threats against him.
In April, Schaffer pleaded guilty to his role in the Capitol riot. As part of the plea deal, Jon entered into a cooperation agreement with the government.
Although Schaffer was initially charged with six crimes, including engaging in an act of physical violence and targeting police with bear spray, he pleaded guilty to only two charges: obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress; and trespassing on restricted grounds of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon. The first charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while the second carries up to a 10-year prison term.
According to CNN, prosecutors and Schaffer's attorneys agreed to recommend that he get between three and a half and four and a half years in prison, based on how fruitful his cooperation is with the government.
The government agreed not to oppose Schaffer's release during the sentencing phase.
As part of the plea deal, Schaffer agreed to cooperate with investigators and potentially testify in related criminal cases, according to CNN. In return for Schaffer's assistance, the Justice Department might later urge the judge to show leniency during his sentencing.
As part of the agreement, the Justice Department has offered to sponsor Schaffer for the witness protection program.