Stager begins serving Capitol riot sentence in federal pen

A Conway truck driver who pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer with a dangerous weapon during the U.S. Capitol riot has been transferred from the District of Columbia jail to a federal prison in Philadelphia to begin serving his sentence.

Peter Francis Stager, 44, used a flagpole, with an American flag attached, to beat a police officer who was face down on the Capitol steps.

After notifying the sheriff’s office, Stager was arrested by FBI agents in Conway on Jan. 14, 2021, and remained in the D.C. jail until his recent transfer to FDC Philadelphia, which is an administrative security federal detention center.

At 9:30 p.m. Monday, Stager was still listed as “NOT IN BOP CUSTODY” on the Bureau of Prisons website. But on Tuesday morning, the website indicated he was at the Philadelphia prison.

Administrative facilities are institutions with special missions, according to the Bureau of Prisons website.

The one in Philadelphia can hold inmates of all security levels.

Stager was sentenced to 52 months in prison and given credit for the 31 months he has served in the D.C. jail.

The Bureau of Prisons website indicates his projected release date is Sept. 24, 2024, and a spokesman for the bureau confirmed that date. That would amount to eight months less than the sentence imposed by a judge.

The “projected release date” is based on the sentence imposed, less the amount of good conduct time they may potentially earn as well as other factors, according to an email from Benjamin O’Cone, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons, who said he couldn’t comment on any specific inmate’s situation for privacy, safety and security reasons.

O’Cone wrote that eligible inmates can earn up to 54 days of good conduct time for each year of “the sentence imposed by the court,” citing

Based on his sentence of 52 months (or 4.3 years), Stager could qualify for almost eight months of good conduct credit.

“A ‘projected’ release date is just that,” wrote O’Cone. “It can be adjusted when warranted. The projected release date is subject to change during the inmate’s period of incarceration.”

Based on an exhibit filed by his lawyer in federal court in the District of Columbia, Stager was a model inmate at the D.C. jail.

According to a “work performance rating” conducted last November, Stager’s quality and quantity of work, along with his initiative, dependability, safety and care of equipment were all “excellent,” which was the highest rating on the form.

His “response to supervision” was rated as “outstanding,” and it was recommended that he be promoted to a more demanding job.

Stager was instrumental in helping the unit get ready and pass inspections “by heading the paint detail and helping with daily sanitation initiatives and was put in several times this quarter for special pay because of the above and beyond work ethic and willingness to do whatever it took to meet the moment,” according to the document, signed by a supervising corporal. “There are no security concerns,” he wrote.

Born Pedro Lopez in San Jose, Calif., Stager had at least five biological siblings, but he never knew his biological father, according to a sentencing memorandum from his attorney.

Stager, his mother and his siblings were homeless for the first years of his life. They slept under benches and slides in a park. Stager’s mother taught her children to steal from stores.

When Stager was 6 years old, his mother abandoned him and his siblings at a motel.

The children became wards of the state. Stager and one of his sisters were separated from the other siblings, never to see them again.

After living in foster homes, Stager and his sister were adopted in 1988 and moved with their new family to Arkansas. Stager attended Jacksonville High School. He participated in baseball, track and football.

After graduating from high school in 1998, Stager worked as a carpenter on the crew that built the William J. Clinton presidential library in Little Rock, according to the sentencing memo. He learned the trade from his grandfather.

In 2004, he married a respiratory therapist. They are raising two children, ages 15 and 17.

In delivering his verdict last month, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras said Stager had obviously overcome a very difficult childhood.


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