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Six More Oath Keepers Indicted for US Capitol Riot

The Florida, North Carolina and Ohio residents are accused of being part of an outfitted military-style “stack” formation that helped breach the Capitol on Jan. 6

The Florida, North Carolina and Ohio residents are accused of being part of an outfitted military-style “stack” formation that helped breach the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Supporters of then-President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

WASHINGTON (CN) — Six more people were indicted by a federal grand jury Friday on charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, all of whom are allegedly affiliated with the Oath Keepers, an extreme right-wing, antigovernment militia organization. 

The six individuals arrested this week and charged in Washington federal court are: Florida residents Graydon Young, 54, Kelly Meggs, 52, and Connie Meggs, 59; North Carolina resident Laura Steele, 52; and Ohio residents Sandra Ruth Parker, 62, and Bennie Alvin Parker, 70. 

All six were added as co-defendants to a superseding indictment filed Friday, which takes the place of the previous indictment against Thomas Caldwell, Donovan Crowl and Jessica Watkins — three alleged insurrection participants who were charged last month. 

According to court documents, all of the new defendants, with the exception of Bennie Parker, marched in a military-style “stack” formation up the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 wearing paramilitary gear — camouflage combat attire, helmets and reinforced vests with the Oath Keeper badge and logo that says, “Not on our watch.” 

In the stack formation, members keep their hands on the backs of one another to remain together when entering a crowd, to be able to efficiently communicate with each other. Bennie Parker stayed outside but remained in communication with the group, prosecutors said. The outfitted group is seen in various pictures and videos throughout the Capitol. 

Meggs, Young and Steele are all allegedly members of a Florida Oath Keepers chapter. According to a Justice Department press release, Meggs, the self-described leader of the chapter, sent a Facebook message in late December saying “Trump said It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!! Sir Yes Sir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your s***.”

Meggs also said that his group didn’t need to be armed for the attack, as there would be heavy “QRF” or quick reaction force, a term that is used in the military and by law enforcement to refer to an armed unit that can quickly respond to help allied units in need of assistance.

Around the same time as the Facebook message, Young allegedly arranged a training session by a Florida company that provides firearms and combat training.

Coming from Ohio, the Parkers drove to Washington with Watkins and Crowl, two of the original defendants in the indictment, according to prosecutors.  

Last month, the FBI searched Watkins and Crowl’s residence and found protective equipment and battle gear, including firearms, a paintball gun with rubber-steel balls and a cylinder, zip/cable ties and a recipe for making a destructive device, among other items, according to court documents. Prosecutors say Watkins and Crowl had been in extensive text communication with the Parkers about combining forces prior to driving to Washington.

All nine defendants in the superseding indictment were charged with conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, depredation of federal government property and unlawful entry. Caldwell and Bennie Parker were also charged with obstructing the investigation, as they allegedly unsent and deleted Facebook content after the insurrection. 

As of Thursday, 237 people have been charged in connection with the breach and insurrection, according to a database maintained by the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

Categories / Criminal, Government, National, Politics

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