WASHINGTON, D.C. (WGHP) – Another North Carolina resident is headed to federal prison for invading the U.S. Capitol and trying to disrupt the presidential election on Jan. 6, 2021.

Lewis Easton Cantwell of Waynesville, who pleaded guilty on March 24 to one of six original charges, was sentenced on Dec. 6 to five months in prison followed by three years months of supervised release, based on federal court records that were updated Wednesday.

That sentence along with $2,000 in restitution were the terms Cantwell agreed to when pleading guilty to obstructing, impeding or interfering with law enforcement during the commission of civil disorder and aiding and abetting.

He is one of the 25 defendants from the state charged for being among the thousands of supporters of former President Donald Trump, allegedly inspired by Trump’s unfounded rhetoric about a stolen election, who stormed the Capitol in a deadly effort designed to disrupt the constitutional process of confirming President Joe Biden’s election in November 2020.

Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

report by the bipartisan Jan. 6 committee confirmed how sometimes armed and violent protestors broke through windows and doors, discarded barricades and overran Capitol police and other guards to parade through the halls of Congress even as members of the House and Senate hid in fear and pleaded for help in securing the building and protecting themselves.

There were hundreds of injuries to law enforcement officers, death threats on the life of Vice President Mike Pence and others, and, ultimately, seven lives were lost during or after the insurrection. Nearly 900 individuals have been arrested, and more than 465 have pleaded guiltyMore than 335 of them have been sentenced.

The House Select Committee referred four criminal charges against Trump, and the Department of Justice is investigating. A special counsel also has been appointed to oversee several investigations involving Trump.

Among those 25 from North Carolina who have been charged or convicted, six are residents of the Piedmont Triad. Some are appearing as witnesses in ongoing trials of the leaders of militia groups the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

Seven of the 25 have been sentenced to prison terms. One received a suspended sentence. Several more should learn their fates in the next few weeks. Some have completed their sentences.

Cantwell’s plea

Cantwell originally was indicted on Feb. 5, 2021, on six counts that included civil disorder, aiding and abetting; obstruction of an official proceeding, aiding and abetting; entering and remaining in a restricted building; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. He was arrested on Feb. 18, 2021.

In a statement drafted by U.S. Attorneys Matthew M. Graves and Jacqueline Schesnol and signed by Cantwell’s attorney, Nicolai Cocis’, Cantwell admits that he “made it to the front of one of the entrances into the U.S. Capitol and used his cell phone to make several video recordings of individuals battling with law enforcement officers from the United States Capitol Police in order to enter the Capitol building.

“During one of the recordings, when watching rioters battle with law enforcement officers near an entrance, Cantwell yelled for the rioters to ‘get the door open.’ At another point, Cantwell yelled that they needed ‘fresh patriots to the front.’”

He admitted that he “encouraged the rioters to get the door open and encouraged more rioters to come to the front where the rioters were battling with officers” and that he knew that the officers were performing their official duties.

If not for his plea deal, Cantwell could have been sentenced to up to five years in federal prison and fined $250,000.

Upcoming cases involving North Carolinians

Surveillance image allegedly shows Laura Steele in the U.S. Capitol.
Surveillance image allegedly shows Laura Steele in the U.S. Capitol.

Laura Steele of Thomasville, a former High Point Police Officer and member of Oath Keepers, is scheduled to go on trial starting Feb. 1 – one of several defendants who could see their cases end in these next few weeks.

Bradley Stuart Bennett

FROM: Charlotte

ARRESTED: April 12, 2021. INDICTED: April 21, 2021. ARRAIGNED: Pleaded not guilty. ARRAIGNED: April 29, 2021 (pleaded not guilty). REINDICTED ON TRUE BILL: Jan. 1, 2022

CHARGES:

  • Obstruction of an official proceeding
  • Entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds
  • Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds
  • Entering and remaining in the Gallery of Congress
  • Disorderly conduct in a Capitol building
  • Parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building
  • Obstruction of justice/official proceeding

STATUS: Trial is scheduled for Feb. 21.

Aiden Bilyard

FROM: Raleigh

ARRESTED: Nov. 22, 2001

CHARGES: Charged on eight counts related to being in the Capitol and wielding a dangerous weapon, he pleaded guilty on Oct. 20 to one count:

  • Assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers using a deadly and dangerous weapon.

STATUS: Faces a potential sentence of 46 to 57 months. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 2.

Johnny Harris

FROM: Shelby

ARRESTED: March 18, 2021. ARRAIGNED: May 27, 2021 (pleaded not guilty).

CHARGES:

  • Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority
  • Knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions
  • Engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds
  • Engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct on the Capitol buildings or grounds
  • Parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building

STATUS: Remains on personal recognizance. A bench trial is scheduled for Feb. 27.

Dale Jeremiah “DJ” Shalvey

FROM: Conover

CHARGED WITH: His wife, Tata Aileen Stottlemyer Shalvey

ARRESTED: March 9, 2021. INDICTED: April 30, 2021. ARRAIGNED: May 18, 2021 (pleaded not guilty to all charges). SUPERSEDING INDICTMENT: Feb. 2, 2022

CHARGES: Charged with his wife, he pleaded guilty on Oct. 3 to two counts of the original six he had faced and agreed to cooperate with investigators by allowing them access to his social media accounts:

  • Obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting
  • Assaulting a police officer

STATUS: He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 24 and could face a prison sentence of 41 to 51 months and fines between $15,000 and $150,000.

 Laura Steele

FROM: Thomasville

ARRESTED: Feb. 17, 2021. CHARGED: March 12, 2021. EIGHTH SUPERSEDING INDICTMENT: June 22, 2022

CHARGES: She is one of eight defendants from the Oath Keepers and is named in seven of nine charges.

  • Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding
  • Obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting
  • Conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties
  • Destruction of government property and aiding and abetting
  • Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds
  • Civil disorder and aiding and abetting
  • Tampering with documents and proceedings and aiding and abetting (she’s the only one of several charged with this). Burned and destroyed evidence in involvement in the attack

STATUS: A trial date is set for Feb. 1.

Tata Aileen Stottlemyer

FROM: Conover

AKA: Tara Aileen Shalvey, charged with Dale Jeremiah “DJ” Shalvey

ARRESTED: Sept. 14, 2021. SUPERSEDING INDICTMENT: Feb. 2, 2022

CHARGES: Charged with her husband, she pleaded guilty on Oct. 3 to one count of the original five she had faced and agreed to cooperate with investigators by allowing them access to her social media accounts:

  • Obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting

STATUS: She is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 20 and could face a prison sentence of 15 to 21 months and fines between $7,500 and $75,000.