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“ Can I bring my gun? ”: A retired couple among six jurists accused of conspiracy in the riots on Capitol Hill
A retired Ohio couple who joined the Oath Keepers have been charged with conspiracy for allegedly plotting for months with other members of the far-right militia to storm the U.S. Capitol Sandra Parker, 60, and her husband, Bennie Parker, 70, have been charged with several federal crimes, including conspiracy, destruction of government property, and aid and encouragement, for their plan to disrupt the Congressional session of the January 6 to certify the election victory of President-elect Joe Biden, prosecutors said. Sandra Parker, dressed in “camouflage combat gear,” raped the government building with other Oath Keepers while her husband aided the group elsewhere on the Capitol grounds. The couple are among six people associated with the Oath Keepers who were arrested and charged this week. for allegedly conspiring to participate in the January 6 uprising. The other rioters are Graydon Young, 54, from Englewood, Fla., And his sister, Laura Steele, 52, from Thomasville, NC, and Kelly Meggs, 52, and his wife, Connie Meggs, 59 years old, from Dunnellon, Florida. a one-year former US Navy for their role in the siege. The FBI describes the Oath Keepers as a “large but loosely organized group of militias who believe the federal government has been corrupted by an obscure plot that attempts to deprive American citizens of their rights” In a replacement indictment filed Friday , prosecutors said Kelly Meggs is a self-proclaimed leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, of which Connie Meggs, Young and Steele are also members. As previously reported by The Daily Beast, prosecutors allege that Watkins spent at least two months coordinating election-related attacks, including training recruits to get them into “fighting form” for another attack during the inauguration and verification of those interested in the riot of January 6. Among those recruits, according to the complaint, was Bennie Parker, who began texting Watkins in November. “I may have to see what it takes to join your militia, our [sic] is on the verge of extinction, “Parker emailed Watkins on Dec. 27, adding that they” were like-minded. ” Prosecutors alleged on Friday that nine people were involved in the conspiracy and that they had all completed or scheduled training “to teach and learn paramilitary combat tactics before the January 6 operation,” in addition to other logistical coordination. . The indictment, which details the group’s appalling efforts to coordinate the attack, also notes that the Oath Keepers were motivated, in large part, by former President Donald Trump and their fear of a presidency. Biden. “Trump said it was going to be wild !!!!!!! It’s gonna be wild !!!!!!! He wants us to make him WILD, he says. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to drive him wild !!! Sir Yes Sir!!! Gentlemen, we’re heading to DC to pack your shit !! Kelly Meggs wrote in a series of Facebook posts in December, adding that “[w]We will have at least 50-100 OK there. The complaint says Watkins and Parker exchanged “numerous text messages” relating to preparations for the Jan. 6 trip to the nation’s capital, including travel arrangements. In a December exchange, after asking if Watkins or “any of your members” were planning on going to DC, Parker said, “Sandi and I want to go but I might like to meet you and accompany you. Security and parking issues to name a few. After Watkins insisted that “parking is not a problem, if you ride with the militia we have a guarded assembly point,” Parker said he would let his wife know and asked. to keep him informed. On Christmas Day, Kelly Meggs wrote in a Facebook post that her group had booked hotel rooms near the Capitol for Jan. 6, adding, “DC is not guns. So mass and gas masks, batons. If you have armor, that’s fine. Around the same time, Young organized – for himself and other militia members – guns and combat training with a Florida company, prosecutors said. and how to get together before the siege on January 6. “Great we need to get together and find out what we need to do to become a member, we’re retired so we can meet anytime. Also tell me what are you all doing on the 6th, ”Bennie Parker wrote. The oath keeper accused in the Capitol Riots was “preparing for literal war,” Feds SayWatkins offered to meet the couple at the bar where she works. According to BuzzFeed News, Watkins and her boyfriend owned and operated the Jolly Roger, a rural bar in Woodstock, Ohio, where they also lived in an upstairs apartment. The complaint suggests the Parkers finally met Watkins at the bar. Three days before the uprising, Bennie Parker and Watkins exchanged messages again, this time discussing “the uniforms, gear and weapons they would wear … on the 6th. January 2021 ”. the complaint states. During the conversation, Watkins said the group did not plan to bring any guns because a QRF – or “rapid reaction force” – with “members of the law enforcement Oath Keepers” would be. present. Prosecutors have previously argued that the QRF, which Watkins helped coordinate with Caldwell, was an armed group that was ready to bring weapons to Oath Keepers if things got ‘bad’ or if Trump somehow ordered them to do so. another to storm the city. Watkins, however, changed course in another text message later in the day, telling the Ohio couple, “The guns are fine now too. Sorry for the confusion. ”She also asked the couple“ to bring khaki / beige pants. ”“ We don’t have khaki. We have jeans and our comics and so can I bring my gun? Bennie Parker replied, in an apparent reference to the army’s “combat uniform,” or camouflage., told her “to send the candidacy … so that I can be checked for the events of Tuesday and Wednesday at come.” On January 4, Young flew from Tampa to North Carolina, then met Steele and three others the next day to travel to DC At the same time, Crowl, Watkins and the Parkers were on their way to the nation’s capital. Prosecutors say that most of the group arrived at the Comfort Inn in Ballston, Virginia on January 5. Early the next morning, Watkins texted Bennie Parker asking if he was up and getting ready, before stating that ‘She was “grabbing the gear and heading for the van.” Hotel surveillance footage shows the couple in camouflage uniforms and meeting Watkins, Crowl and Caldwell in the lobby around 5 a.m. before leaving. Prosecutors say Young and Steele traveled to Washington from Springfield, Va. glasses. “” Where are you? Pence is out. We’re screwed. Teargassing peaceful protesters at the capital. I’m rowdy here … I am here at the font dry groin to the left of the Capitol[.]Caldwell texted Watkins at around 2:06 PM. Soon after, thousands of MAGA supporters stormed the Capitol. The Oath Keepers, including some of the accused group, were clearly visible in photos and videos, walking closely together on the steps on the east side of the Capitol in their riot gear. The group also wore clothing with Oath Keeper accessories. Capitol, as well as a “stack” of militia members who were seen inside the rotunda with their hands on their backs, prosecutors said. She was joined by Crowl, Watkins, Young, Steele and the Meggs. The complaint says investigators believe the 30 Oath Keepers, who “stuck together”, wanted to arrest citizens. After the riots, Watkins and Bennie Parker remained in touch regarding the “ensuing federal investigation” into the siege. Prosecutors allege several of the other Oath Keepers attempted to tamper with evidence following the insurgency, including Caldwell, who was accused of removing photos from his social media accounts, and Young, who allegedly deleted his Facebook page. According to the FBI wanted list, it seems they are only interested in people who have destroyed things. I wouldn’t worry about them coming after us, “Watkins wrote on Jan. 9, to which Parker replied,” I’m sure they’re not about to see us photos but no militia. “Five days later Bennie Parker texted Watkins,” Hay, I have to ask if you put Sandi over there in the capital. [sic]? On January 17, Watkins and Crowl were arrested. Learn more about The Daily Beast. Send it to The Daily Beast here Get our best stories delivered to your inbox every day. Register now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside digs deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.