Self-Described Militia Members Jailed on Riot Charges

Supporters of President Donald J. Trump demonstrate during a “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.  (Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, File)

CINCINNATI (AP) — Two self-described militia members facing federal charges that they participated in the assault on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month were jailed Tuesday.

Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl, both from Ohio, are being held at a county jail in Dayton, after being arrested Monday. Federal documents identify them as members of the Ohio State Regular Militia, dues-paying members of the Oath Keepers. The FBI complaints call the Oath Keepers a paramilitary group that believes in a “shadowy conspiracy” to strip Americans of their rights. It often recruits current and former military, police or other first responders.

Federal investigators used social media posts and news media interviews the suspects gave to help identify them. They each face three charges: entering a restricted building or grounds; violent entry or disorderly conduct, and obstruction of an official proceeding. No information was available immediately on whether they had attorneys yet.

They are among more than 125 people arrested so far on charges related to the Jan. 6 violent insurrection led by supporters  of President Donald Trump, where a Capitol police officer and four others were killed. U.S. authorities last week announced arrests of a Cleveland woman and a Wilmington man on related charges.

The FBI stated in charging documents that Oath Keepers wearing helmets, protective vests and items with the group’s name were seen to “move in an organized and practiced fashion and force their way to the front of the crowd gathered around a door to the U.S. Capitol.”

Watkins, a 38-year-old self-described commanding officer of the Ohio State Regular Militia, posted video and comments Jan. 6 on the Parler social media site, investigators said.

“Yeah. We stormed the Capitol today. Teargassed, the whole, 9. Pushed our way into the Rotunda. Made it into the Senate even. The news is lying (even Fox) about the Historical Events we created today,” she allegedly wrote. Watkins also posted that entry was forced through the back door of the Capitol.


By DAN SEWELL, Associated Press

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