1 year later: 17 North Carolinians charged in U.S. Capitol attack

State - Regional

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Thursday marks the one year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. In the weeks following the incident, the U.S. Department of Justice made hundreds of arrests and pressed charges on people who had traveled to Washington D.C. from across the country.

Images from the federal complaint against Stephen Baker

Of those charged for their actions on Jan. 6, 2021, 17 were from North Carolina. At least one is scheduled to be sentenced Friday. Another goes to trial at the end of the month.

Stephen Maury Baker, of Garner, was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Federal court documents say Baker live-streamed from inside the Capitol under the name “Stephen Ignoramus.” After he says police are forcing people out, “Ignoramus” says “I’m one of the last people up in here.”

Bradley Stuart Bennett was charged after several tips were submitted about his involvement. Federal documents said a tipster viewed a video and a post on Bennett’s Facebook page showing him inside the Capitol. The anonymous tipster said a video showed Bennet inside the U.S. Capitol and him referencing “patriots [going] to war,”. He was charged with several offenses including obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.

Images from the federal complaint against Bradley Bennett

Aiden Bilyard, of Cary, was accused of spraying law enforcement with “bear spray” and using a bat to smash a window of the Capitol. He then entered a Senate room through the broken window, federal officials said. Bilyard told FBI agents he was at the Capitol that day but only took part in lawful activities. After agents showed Bilyard videos of his “apparent participation,” the 19-year-old said, “this is where I take my leave.”

Image of Bilyard spraying a substance from a canister.

Lewis Easton Cantwell, of Asheville, was slapped with several charges was including civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.

Charles Donohoe

Charles Donohoe, a Marine veteran from Kernersville, was accused of helping plan the attack on the Capitol. Federal prosecutors have released videos they said show Donohoe pushing his way up the stairs of the Capitol and past the police. They said that video showed Donohoe carrying a riot shield stolen from police. Documents said he is the president of a local chapter of the far-right Proud Boys. A judge recently refused to accept arguments that his actions were protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.

Edward George Jr. was arrested in Fayetteville for his connection to the Jan. 6 riot. He was charged with crimes that included the theft of an American flag along with assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in the Gallery of Congress, and disorderly conduct.

James Tate Grant, from Cary, was seen on video leading a crowd toward metal barriers blocking off the Capitol grounds. Court documents say video showed Grant pick up a portion of the barrier and shove it towards police officers, making at least one of them fall to the ground. Videos then showed Grant and other rioters overwhelm officers and make their way to the Capitol building. A search of his cell phone found selfies of him inside the building. He now faces similar charges to the others in addition to a charge of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon or inflicting bodily injury and act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings.

Images from the federal complaint against James Tate Grant

Officials say Johnny Harris, of Shelby, was seen in the Capitol building with a megaphone and flag during the violent insurrection. The FBI said an anonymous tipster told them Harris had posted pictures of himself inside of the U.S. Capitol building on his Facebook page. Agents collected security footage and body camera video that they say shows Harris specifically inside of the Capitol Rotunda and in a hallway just outside of the Rotunda. Two witnesses who traveled to the Capitol with Harris also identified him as the individual in the photos.

Investigators said Stephen Ethan Horne, of Wake Forest, had a two-hour-long video on his Facebook page depicting the scenes inside of the Capitol with the caption “I was in DC today when the capitol was stormed.” The photo below, provided by the FBI, depicts Horn dressed in a black helmet, black jacket, black gloves and a backpack, and holding a cellphone. Horn voluntarily interviewed with the FBI in February 2021 and admitted to being at the Capitol and trespassing.

Stephen Horn (FBI Photo)

James Little has a sentencing scheduled for Feb. 11. He told police he had no intention on entering the Capitol but got caught up in the moment. Investigator said Little texted someone while he was there and said, “We are stopping treason! Stealing elections is treason! We’re not going to take it anymore!” He has pled guilty to three of the four charges against him. He pleaded guilty to one county of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.

James Phillip Mault, of Brockport, New York was taken into custody at Fort Bragg, where he was stationed after the insurrection at the Capitol. A federal criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday showed Mault climbing a ledge of the Capitol and spraying a chemical agent at law enforcement during the insurrection. According to the federal complaint, Mault was seen in attendance at the Capitol attack wearing a reddish-brown colored hard hat with a sticker of Ironworkers Local 33 of Rochester, New York. An anonymous source contacted the FBI and told officials they saw Mault inside the Capitol while standing next to a police officer who had been killed.

Law enforcement was tipped off about Anthony Joseph Scirica’s involvement in the Jan. 6 attack. One of the tips included screenshots from an Inside Edition report claiming to show the suspect. He was also captured on surveillance video. He was charged knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Grayson Sherrill was identified by a family member after being placed on a wanted poster by the FBI. Another family member submitted a tip saying Sherrill’s father shared a photo of him from the attack confirming he’d been present. His charges include violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Images from the federal complaint against Grayson Sherrill
Images from the federal complaint against Grayson Sherrill.

Christopher Raphael Spencer, of Pilot Mountain, was taken into custody without incident in Kernersville. He was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and obstruction of justice, the FBI said.

Chris Spencer (Courtesy of the FBI)

According to a statement of facts provided by the FBI, Spencer livestreamed from inside the Capitol during the events. A video also captured Spencer entering the wing of the Capitol where the Speaker of the House’s office is located. He can be heard asking, “Where’s Nancy’s office?”

Virginia Marie Spencer, the wife of Chris Spencer, was also charged for her role in the attack. She told federal investigators that she did not take any pictures or video inside the Capitol. However, her husband took video while inside the Capitol. Virginia Spencer was visible in that 20-minute video, the federal complaint said.

A busload of more than 40 members of the militia group the Oath Keepers rode in commercial buses to the Capitol ahead of the attack. Among them was Laura Steele, a former High Point police officer. Among other charges, she was also accused of tampering with documents for using a burn pit in her back yard to destroy evidence of her involvement in the riot, including the clothes she and others were wearing, officials said. Her trial is scheduled for Jan. 31 with another one scheduled in April.

Images from the federal complaint against Matthew Wood

Matthew Mark Wood turned himself into the FBI after spotting himself on an FBI wanted suspects poster. He told investigators that he never intended to participate in the attack. He claimed he was pushed towards a broken window by the crowd and entered the building to avoid being trampled. However, images from Facebook showed Wood boasting about a “necessary revolt” against a “tyrannical government” and engaging in actions that “sent those politicians running,” according to federal documents.

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