This week, six additional individuals associated with an organization known as the Oath Keepers, some of whose members were among those who forcibly entered the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, were arrested and charged in federal court in the District of Columbia for conspiring to obstruct the United States Congress’s certification of the result of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, among other charges.
Graydon Young, 54, of Englewood, Florida, was arrested on Monday in Tampa, Florida; Kelly Meggs, 52, and Connie Meggs, 59, both of Dunnellon, Florida, were arrested on Wednesday in Ocala, Florida; Laura Steele, 52, of Thomasville, North Carolina, was arrested on Wednesday in Greensboro, North Carolina; and Sandra Ruth Parker, 62, and Bennie Alvin Parker, 70, both of Morrow, Ohio, were arrested yesterday.
These six individuals were added as co-defendants to a superseding indictment filed today in United States v. Thomas Caldwell, Donovan Crowl, and Jessica Watkins, 21-cr-28-APM. The superseding indictment alleges that Kelly and Connie Meggs, Young, Steele, and Sandra Parker donned paramilitary gear and joined with Watkins and Crowl in a military-style “stack” formation that marched up the center steps on the east side of the U.S. Capitol, breached the door at the top, and then stormed the building. The indictment charges all nine defendants with one count of conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 371, that is, to corruptly obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 1512(c)(2); one count of depredation against federal government property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1361; and unlawful entry, disorderly conduct, or violent conduct in restricted buildings or grounds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1752(a). The indictment also charges Bennie Parker and Caldwell with obstructing the investigation in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(c)(1).
According to the superseding indictment, Kelly Meggs is the self-described leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, of which Connie Meggs, Young, and Steele also are alleged to be members. In late December, the indictment alleges, Kelly Meggs wrote in a Facebook message, “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***!!” He went on to state, “[W]e will have at least 50-100 OK there.” According to the indictment, around the same time, Young allegedly arranged, for himself and others, training by a Florida company that provides firearms and combat training.
The indictment alleges that Sandra and Bennie Parker traveled with Watkins and Crowl from Ohio to Washington, D.C. In the lead-up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Bennie Parker allegedly communicated extensively with Watkins about potentially joining her militia and combining forces for the events of January 6.
The superseding indictment alleges that, in making plans for the events of January 6, Kelly Meggs made statements, similar to those made by Watkins and Caldwell, that his group would not need to be armed for the attack on the U.S. Capitol, because there would be a “heavy QRF 10 Min out[.]” The abbreviation “QRF” is alleged to refer to “quick reaction force,” a term used by law enforcement and the military to refer to an armed unit capable of rapidly responding to developing situations, typically to assist allied units in need of such assistance.
The superseding indictment adds charges that, in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Caldwell and Young tampered with documents or proceedings by unsending and deleting Facebook content.