Cody Tarner Sentenced For Torching Supreme Court Vehicles

An extremist from Maryland who claims to be the leader of a militia will spend years in prison after pouring gasoline on Supreme Court vehicles and accidentally lighting himself on fire in Northeast DC, federal authorities announced.

US Supreme Court

US Supreme Court

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Hagerstown native Cody Tarner, who has a history of encounters with law enforcement and has expressed anti-government rhetoric, pleaded guilty earlier this year to arson in connection to an act of rage that went wrong for him, officials said on Jan. 10.

On Tuesday, Tarner was sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered by a judge to pay $32,371.42 in restitution.

According to court documents, on July 15, 2020, Tarner drove onto US Supreme Court property on First Street NE and parked in an employee-only parking spot before getting out and talking a stroll around the property to get the lay of the land.

The 26-year-old then returned to his car and pulled out a red gas can.

At approximately 1:48 p.m. that day, Tarner was spotted on camera pouring gasoline onto three unmarked police vehicles parked in Supreme Court employee only parking spaces, though he unknowingly was also splashing some of the gas on himself.

Officials made note that the unmarked vehicles were clearly official, with emergency lights visible from the outside, and one with lights on the roof.

Then, Tarner's doomed ploy took a turn.

Tarner was caught on camera lighting one of the vehicles on fire, which resulted in a violent ignition of the gasoline, which ended up with him being engulfed in flames, leaving the with self-inflicted severe burns and injuries.

Of the three police vehicles, one was completely burned, one was damaged, and the third did not catch fire.

He would later admit to starting the fire with gas purchased in Pennsylvania with the intention of torching the Supreme Court vehicles. 

The investigation also found that Tarner had several prior encounters with law enforcement in which he expressed anti-government and militia extremist ideologies. Tarner also claimed to be the leader of an identified militia group.

He had faced up to 20 years behind bars.

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