25-year sentence given FRC shooter
WASHINGTON (BP) -- The man who planned mass shootings at several conservative organizations in the nation's capital has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for the thwarted plot.
In August 2012, Floyd Corkins II walked into the lobby of the Family Research Council with a backpack full of Chick-fil-A sandwiches, a gun and 100 rounds of ammunition. FRC security guard Leo Johnson tackled and subdued Corkins, but not before the attacker fired three shots, hitting the guard in the arm.
Prosecutors asked Judge Richard W. Roberts of the U.S. District Court in Washington for a 45-year sentence for Corkins for his guilty pleas for assault with intent to kill while armed, committing an act of terrorism while armed and interstate transportation of a firearm. His lawyers said he was under treatment for mental illness at the time and didn't deserve to serve more than 11 and a half years.
Johnson, in a letter to the court, detailed the extent of his injuries and said he often experiences feelings of anger and frustration when he thinks about what he has endured, and continues to endure, "both physically and psychologically as a result of this crime." He asked for Corkins, 28, to receive the maximum sentence.
Corkins told authorities he planned to shoot as many people as possible and smear the chicken sandwiches in their faces as a political statement. Corkins, a volunteer for The DC Center for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Community, was angry over the position conservatives, including Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy, had taken on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
In court documents filed in April, government prosecutors said they based their sentencing recommendation on Corkins' intent. Without Johnson's intervention, the attacker "would have almost certainly succeeded in committing a massacre of epic portions," the filing said.
In a statement before the court, FRC President Tony Perkins said he did not seek vengeance but justice. "Mr. Corkins has so far shown no remorse," Perkins said. "The facts show he planned his attack in great detail and hoped for massive casualties.... As he admits, this crime was premeditated and had been on his mind for years before he decided to act on his plan."
During the sentencing hearing, Corkins did apologize to his actual and intended victims: "I realize resorting to violence to achieve a political end is never OK," he said, adding that he still disagrees with the FRC.
Perkins also laid blame on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has applied a "hate group" label to the FRC and other organizations that support traditional marriage. "[Corkins'] goal and that of SPLC is to silence those with whom they disagree," Perkins said. "In a civil society, shutting down debate is not how reasonable people and organizations operate. Intimidating and bullying others shreds the 'ordered liberty' of which our founders wrote and for which they advocated, and places all of us in jeopardy of losing our sacred rights as militant extremists claim the public square exclusively for themselves."
WORLD News Service, based in Asheville, N.C., is affiliated with WORLD Magazine (www.worldmag.com). Used by permission.