Investigators say Sandra Parker, 60, and Bennie Parker, 70, a married couple from Morrow in Warren County, dressed in camouflaged combat attire as part of a group of Oath Keepers, “a large but loosely organized coalition of militia that believe the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights,” according to an affidavit filed late Thursday in support of the criminal complaint against them.
Morrow couple charged with aiding and abetting, conspiracy and more
The couple are charged with aiding and abetting, conspiracy, destruction of government property, obstruction of an official proceeding and entering a restricted building or grounds, according to arrest warrants.
Capitol riot arrests: Here are Ohioans who have been charged in connection to the attack
They appeared Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen L. Likovitz in federal court in Cincinnati via video conferencing because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and were released without bond, according to court documents.
Oath Keepers, dressed in matching attire, formed a line, or “stack,” formation, to force their way through the crowd on Jan. 6 and into the Capitol building. Investigators allege the group included Jessica Watkins, 38, and Donovan Crowl, 50, both of Champaign County, who were arrested last month in the federal crackdown on individuals involved in the insurgency, according to documents.
‘Unfortunately, we can’t take weapons’: Communicating with other Oath Keepers
Communications between Watkins and other Oath Keepers on Jan. 6 noted that 30 to 40 people were part of the group.
Investigators say Watkins communicated with Bennie Parker, via text messages over several months, including a November conversation in which Parker wrote, “Unfortunately, we can’t take weapons.” Watkins responded, “Not into the city, no. Just mace, tasers and nightsticks.”
In a December exchange, they discussed Oath Keeper membership and further preparations for the Jan. 6 trip to Washington, D.C., according to court documents. Watkins also invited the Parkers to her bar in Woodstock.
Records and surveillance video from a hotel in Arlington, Virginia, show interaction between the Parkers and Watkins and Crowl prior to the attack, according to documents. Photos and video footage appears to show Sandra Parker inside the Capitol Rotunda.
DC insurrection:Ohio town unknowingly hosted alleged Capitol attack plotters
In a text exchange a few days after the Capitol insurrection, Watkins told Bennie Parker: “I’ve been following the FBI wanted list, seems they’re only interested in people who destroyed things. I wouldn’t worry about them coming after us,” according to documents.
The Parkers’ house, valued at over $200,000, sits on a cul-de-sac in a well-groomed and wooded subdivision. On Friday, three vehicles sat in their driveway. There was a snowman flag on their mailbox.
Neighbors said they were woken at dawn when federal agents raided the home blocking the streets with dozens of vehicles. The agents spent hours removing things from the home, they said. None of the people who lived on the street wanted to be named, but several recalled Sandra Parker being kind and neighborly.
Other Ohioans arrested in connection with Capitol riot
The Parkers join a lengthening list of Ohioans arrested for participating in the Jan. 6 assault, on the U.S. Capitol building, disrupting lawmakers’ proceedings as they officially declared Democrat Joe Biden the victor over Republican Donald Trump.
Capitol riot arrests:Here are Ohioans who have been charged in connection to the attack
Dustin Byron Thompson, 36, of the University District, and Robert Anthony Lyon, 27, also of Columbus, both were charged after investigators said they entered the Capitol that day (Thompson is accused of stealing a coat rack from the premises).
Troy Elbert Faulkner, 39, of Whitehall, is facing charges after he was spotted kicking in a window of the Capitol building, wearing a “Faulkner Painting” coat complete with his business phone number, according to court documents.
Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Sonia Chopra contributed.
Source: USA Today – Breaking News