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Patriot Freedom Project

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A Letter from Lonnie Coffman

Lonnie Coffman is a Vietnam War veteran. He is 71 years old and experienced a series of mental and physical health challenges while in jail, exacerbated by the poor hygiene afforded the January 6th protestors. Coffman was in pre-trial detention for over a year. Coffman never entered Capitol Hill on January 6th. Coffman had no criminal record according to his hometown’s mayor, Falkville Alabama Mayor Ken Winkles. Coffman had no social media accounts and was not considered a radical, alt-right member by any law enforcement agency. Coffman cooperated fully with the Washington D.C. police throughout their extensive search of him and his property. Coffman and his wife saved up and purchased their own forest oasis in Alabama in 2010. Since then, Coffman dedicated time to making his property home. Coffman is waiting to have up to three surgeries when he is out of prison. He suffers from hearing loss and long and short-term memory loss, which makes life in prison very difficult. Despite this and an established history of American prisoners serving time in house arrest, a federal judge, Judge Colleen Koller-Kotelly, sentenced Coffman to 46 months of jail time in a federal prison. Judge Koller-Kotelly did not spare Coffman a dressing down about not being able to explain his actions despite knowing that Coffman struggles with long- and short-term memory loss. The following is an excerpt from one of his letters to Patriot Freedom Project:

“Dearest Cindy,

I know you don’t know me yet, but I am that old hillbilly that is currently spending a lot of time getting to know your nephew, Tim. I can say without any doubt that he is a very fine and intelligent young man. He has tried to help me any way he can, and I need and appreciate so much what he has done, as well as all the help from you. I am 71 years of age and not in real good shape, both physical and mental. I am under the care of the Veteran Healthcare System for both. I am expecting to have two maybe three surgeries when I get back home. I don’t want to have them here because the recovery and my personal hygiene would be extremely difficult. Even though I live alone back in Alabama, I would still rather be there and miserable, instead of here and miserable. I must say I am quite simple minded. I knew a little about high tech many years ago but I forgot it and stopped trying to keep up with it. I am in bad shape with both long and short term memory. It is rather shameful when I have to keep asking the people what their name is. Now I am getting somewhat hard of hearing. Some of that is all the hair in my ears. The staff here will not let us have a shave and haircut…Before I forget, I thank you very, very much for the financial help and some of these guys I am in here with are better than family. I will miss them so much when I am released. Talk about be released, I don’t know if I will get my vehicle back, or what kind of charges they may put on it. I will close this letter now. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

All the best,

Lonnie.”

Written By Sara Sass