Worcester man caught preparing Molotov cocktails during George Floyd protest sentenced
WORCESTER — A 20-year-old man who brought Molotov cocktails with him to a George Floyd protest in the city two years ago was sentenced to time served at home in federal court Thursday.
According to the Telegram & Gazette, for the last two years, Vincent Eovacious, has been on home confinement with a GPS monitoring device because a magistrate judge declined a request from the government to order him held without bail pending trial.
On June 1, 2020, Eovacious, an 18-year-old high school senior, took part in Worcester’s protest of the death of George Floyd, a Black man from Minneapolis who was brutally murdered by police while in custody on May 26, 2020.
According to longtime Telegram & Gazette reporter, Craig Semon, the Worcester
protests that took place throughout the city that day were largely peaceful until around 10 p.m., when police officers reported a large crowd near May and Main streets blocking traffic and throwing objects in their direction.
In an attempt to prevent the unruly crowd from looting, roughly 40 officers lined commercial establishments along Main Street.
Above the line of officers was Eovacious, who was standing on the roof of 848 Main Street, a one-story building, yelling “kill the police.”
Officer Ilirjan Jano looked in the direction of the screaming and saw Eovacious pull a bottle and white rag from a bag. As Eovacious attempted to put the rag into the bottle and light it with a silver lighter, the line of police trained their flashlights on him, which caused him to step away from the edge of the roof.
Police later located Eovacious on the street, where he was charged with two federal offenses – civil disorder and possession of an unregistered firearm.
Eovacious was indicted by a grand jury on Oct. 1, 2020. On Sept. 9, 2021, he plead guilty to both charges.
Assistant U.S. District Attorney Daniel Bennett said in federal district court Thursday that even though Eovacious was young and understandably upset by the death of George Floyd, the gravity of his actions that day should not be overlooked.
“The seriousness of this offense is difficult to overstate,” Bennett said. “Eovacious could have easily caused catastrophic injury or death of officers or protestors or have killed himself. There is no justification for his deliberate and premeditated criminal conduct.”
Bennett added that he’s aware of the mental health issues Eovacious experienced at a young age, but said that he should still face additional consequences for his actions.
According to the Telegram & Gazette, Bennett recommended that Eovacious be sentenced to 13 months behind bars followed with three years of supervised release.
“Beyond the mere fact of the federal criminal convictions, there must be an additional consequence imposed in this case to reflect the seriousness of this criminal conduct, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment,” Bennett said. “It is critical that the sentence imposed afford adequate deterrence to this type of criminal conduct and, importantly, protect the public, including our police officers, from further crimes by Eovacious.”
Eovacious’ attorney Jessica Thrall said that her client has turned over a new leaf after a lot of self-reflection and feels very remorseful for his actions, adding that Eovacious’ mental health issues were “poorly managed” when the incident took place on June 1, 2020.
Thrall said that Eovacious has been punished sufficiently by being under house arrest for the last two years, adding that Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early dismissed the vast majority of cases involving protesters from that evening.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Hillman concluded by sentencing Eovacious to time served under house arrest and supervised probation for three years, saying: “This is a break many don’t get. Take advantage of it.”