By SDCN Editor
Six additional members and affiliates of the Oath Keepers were found guilty in the District of Columbia today for their actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach.
Their actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Sandra Parker, 63, of Morrow, Ohio; Bennie Parker, 72, of Morrow, Ohio, Connie Meggs, 60, of Dunnellon, Florida; Laura Steele, 53, of Thomasville, North Carolina; and William Isaacs, 23, of Kissimmee, Florida, were found guilty of conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, a felony. Sandra Parker, Meggs, Steele, and Isaacs were also convicted of obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiring to prevent an officer of the United States from discharging a duty, and destruction of government property, all felonies. All five defendants, along with co-defendant Michael Greene, 39, of Indianapolis, Indiana, were found guilty of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, a misdemeanor.
“With this verdict, the Justice Department has now secured convictions of 14 Oath Keepers members and affiliates for felonies surrounding the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“This is another important step in holding accountable those who broke laws and tried to interfere with our democratic process during January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Parker, Steele, and Isaacs were, additionally, found guilty of obstructing officers during a civil disorder, a felony, for joining the mob that tried to push against officers down the hallway from the Rotunda to the Senate Chamber; Isaacs was found guilty of one additional count of obstructing officers during a civil disorder for his conduct in entering the building; and Steele was found guilty of tampering with evidence.
The jury could not reach a verdict with respect to the charge of obstruction of an official proceeding against defendant Greene. He was found not guilty of the first and third counts of the indictment, and Bennie Parker was found not guilty of the second and third counts.
According to evidence presented at trial, the defendants and their alleged co-conspirators coordinated in advance of Jan. 6 and traveled across the country to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in early January 2021. On the afternoon of Jan. 6, around 1:30 p.m., Oath Keepers leader Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, who was convicted in an earlier trial of seditious conspiracy and related charges, sent a message on an encrypted group chat announcing that Vice President Michael Pence would not intercede to stop Congress’ certification of the electoral college vote, and so “patriots” were taking matters into their own hands. Moments later, Sandra Parker, Bennie Parker, Steele, Meggs, and Isaacs joined with other Oath Keepers members and affiliates in marching towards the Capitol. They donned paramilitary gear such as helmets and vests. They passed barricades and Capitol Police officers and entered the restricted area of the Capitol grounds. Then Sandra Parker, Steele, Meggs, and Isaacs joined with 10 co-conspirators in placing hands on shoulders and marching up the steps and into the Capitol in a military “stack” formation.
Once inside, half of the group – including Sandra Parker, Steele, and Isaacs – tried to force their way past riot police officers toward the Senate Chamber. The other half of the group – including Meggs – moved towards the House Chamber, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office. In the words of Kelly Meggs, a co-conspirator who was convicted in an earlier trial of seditious conspiracy and related charges, the group was looking for Speaker Pelosi.
In total, 29 Oath Keepers members and affiliates were charged as part of the Capitol Breach investigation. To date, eight have pleaded guilty, and all 15 who have proceeded to trial have been found guilty. Six are awaiting trial.
The charges of conspiracy to obstruct Congress, obstruction of Congress, and tampering with evidence carry a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; the charge of destruction of government property carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; the charge of conspiracy to prevent members of Congress from discharging their duties carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison; and the charge of interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison; the charge of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds carries a statutory maximum of one year in prison. All charges carry potential financial penalties. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Cincinnati Field Office, Charlotte Field Office, Jacksonville Field Office, and Tampa Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 26 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,000 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 320 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.
The investigation remains ongoing.