Tucson-area siblings plead responsible to obstruction in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

A Tucson-area girl and her brother pleaded responsible Wednesday to obstruction throughout a civil dysfunction, amongst of a bunch of 5 “Proud Boys” members who toppled steel boundaries and fought their method into the Capitol constructing throughout the bloody January 6 assault on Congress by supporters of Donald Trump. 

Throughout a listening to in Washington D.C., 29-year-old Felicia Konold and 27-year-old Cory Konold agreed to enter responsible pleas on the only rely of obstructing, impeding, or interfering with legislation enforcement officer throughout the fee of a civil dysfunction. They every withstand 5 years in jail and a advantageous of $250,000.

They’ll face sentencing in January.

The Konolds have been arrested in February 2021 and confronted 5 fees for his or her actions that day—a part of a bunch 5 who labored collectively throughout the riot, placing themselves on the vanguard of the group, prosecutors stated. This included three members of the Proud Boys, a white nationalist group identified for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.

The group pushed previous police boundaries, interfered with arrests, and blocked a steel barrier from sealing one of many Capitol’s entrances, leaving U.S. Capitol police unable to defend the constructing in opposition to 1000’s of Trump supporters who stormed into Congress with the intention of undermining the U.S. election.

On January 6, Congress was holding a joint session to formally rely the votes of the Electoral School within the November 2020 election. A crowd of 1000’s who gathered for a rally referred to as by Trump on the Nationwide Mall overwhelmed police and smashed their method into the Capitol constructing, forcing the evacuation of members of the Home of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, together with Vice President Mike Pence. 

In the course of the incident, rioters clashed with police, assaulting 81 members of the Capitol Police and 58 members of the Metropolitan Police Division. One Capitol police officer was fatally injured, and one other had his eye gouged out. One other officer misplaced fingers. A girl was shot and killed as she tried to climb via a window to the place members of Congress have been barricaded close to the Home chamber.

The bloody incident failed in stopping the vote, which was accomplished later that day. Nevertheless, fallout from the occasion led to the second impeachment trial of ex-president Donald Trump.

Within the 33 months since Jan. 6, 2021, greater than 1,100 people have
been charged in almost all 50 states for crimes associated to the breach of
the Capitol, together with greater than 400 people charged with felonies,
together with assaulting or impeding legislation enforcement. Federal officers
stated they’re persevering with their investigation into the rebellion.

The FBI recognized the Konold siblings primarily based on images and movies taken throughout
the riot, in addition to social media posts and cellphone location information.

The FBI additionally linked Felicia Konold to the Kansas Metropolis chapter of the Proud Boys. Created in 2016, the Proud Boys have turn out to be inextricably linked to Trump, and labored with different hate teams on the 2017 “Unite the Proper” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Simply days earlier than the failed rebellion, the Proud Boys attacked a Black church in Washington, D.C.

Because the FBI agent wrote in an affidavit, the Proud Boys “generally have interaction in violence in opposition to people whom they understand as threats to their values.”

Together with the Konolds, federal prosecutors additionally charged William
Chrestman, Christopher Kuehne, and Louis Enrique Colon. They have been every
arrested in Kansas Metropolis, Mo., on the identical day because the Konolds, in keeping with a Justice
Division web site that tracks circumstances stemming from violent rebellion.

Kuehne pleaded responsible to obstruction of legislation enforcement throughout a civil dysfunction in entrance of a decide in September, and
Chrestman pleaded responsible obstruction of an official continuing and
threatening a federal officer on Oct. 16. Each males could have sentencing
hearings in January.

In the meantime, Colon’s case is ongoing.

A witness, recognized solely as W-1, supplied a compilation of posts from Felicia Konold’s Snapchat to the FBI. In a video posted to Snapchat, Felicia Konold stated, “I by no means might [unintelligible] have imagined having that a lot of an affect on the occasions that unfolded in the present day. Dude, folks have been keen to comply with.” 

“We fucking did it,” she stated. 

She additionally stated on Snapchat that she was “recruited right into a fucking chapter from Kansas Metropolis,” and she or he displayed a two-sided “problem coin” the FBI stated “seems to have markings that designate it as belonging to the Kansas Metropolis Proud Boys.”

Agent tracked the actions of Konold and her brother on January 6, exhibiting that earlier than 1 p.m., she was marching with main members of the Proud Boys, together with Joseph Biggs and Ethan Nordean. Later, video exhibits Chrestman talking with Nordean. Felicia Konold would spend a lot of the time throughout the assault on Congress at Chrestmen’s elbow.

Round 1 p.m. that day, the Konolds, together with Chrestman, gathered close to the pedestrian entrance to the Capitol grounds, the place a waist-high steel barrier separated the group from a small variety of U.S. Capitol Police, the FBI agent wrote. Inside minutes, the group “overwhelmed the U.S. Capitol officers,” he wrote, toppling steel barricades and advancing ahead. “Inside minutes, Chrestman, Felicia Konold, and Cory Konold had moved previous the barrier and positioned themselves at or close to the entrance of the group on the subsequent police barrier.”

“Simply as the primary police line was being overwhelmed, the defendant — together with co-defendants Chrestman and Cory Konold — made her method to the entrance of the group and have become one of many first rioters to trample over the toppled barricades,” wrote prosecutors within the plea agreements. “Together with different members of the group, the defendant then made her method with Chrestman and Cory Konold previous a number of subsequent strains of barricades and onto the Capitol’s Decrease West Plaza, contained in the restricted space.”

For greater than an hour, the Konolds remained within the space regardless of orders from police and salvos of “less-lethal” weapons, together with pepper spray and remained near Chrestman, who “made numerous efforts to instigate the group and oppose police efforts to quell the riot.” At one level, when officers tried to arrest one man, Chrestman yelled “Don’t allow them to take him!” 

Felicia Konold additionally shouted “Let him go!” She additionally helped her brother placed on a helmet looted from a Capitol police officer to “face up to the group management measures police have been using,” in keeping with their plea settlement. He introduced the helmet house with him.

As the group labored to interrupt via the road of police, Felicia Konold—together with Cory Konold and Chrestman—pushed again, yelling “Battle for America! Battle for America!’

Later the group used chairs and a trash can to maintain Capitol police from reducing a steel barrier. 

“Badly outnumbered,” a number of Capitol cops retreated from the group and arrange behind a big, sliding-door barrier. As they tried to shut the barrier, the group jammed chairs and a trash can in its method. Together with her hand on the door Felicia Konold watched as “police tried to shut the door and repel the rioters, who have been throwing objects and spraying chemical irritants at police.”

“Finally the rioters prevailed, and the officers retreated additional into the constructing,” federal prosecutors wrote.

The group “not solely moved carefully to one another in proximity, but in addition appeared to gesture and talk to at least one one other each earlier than and whereas contained in the Capitol in an obvious effort to coordinate their efforts.”

After the occasions, Felicia Konold made a submit to social media, writing she “by no means might have imagined having that a lot of an affect on the occasions
that unfolded in the present day. Dude, folks have been keen to comply with. You fucking
lead, and everybody had my again, dude… We fucking did it.” 

She later wrote in a diary the group “took our capitol again.”

United States took a stand a majority peacefully pushed again 6+ strains of
safety and endured via rubber bullets, chemical sprays, baton
beating, bodily resistance and doorways,” she wrote. “And occupied the Capitol
constructing in Washington for the reason that British a whole lot of years in the past.”

The siblings agreements have been linked, requiring each to enter responsible
pleas. As a part of the settlement, Felicia Konold agreed to let federal
brokers assessment social media accounts for posts made earlier than and round
Jan. 6, 2021 and interview her concerning the occasions.

On Monday, 51-year-old Jacob Zerkle pleaded responsible to assaulting police officer and civil dysfunction for his actions throughout the bloody try to seize the U.S. Capitol.

Zerkle, a resident of Bowie, Ariz., east of Tucson, was wearing a
heavy leather-based jacket as he battled with police on the West Garden of the
Capitol after pushing previous momentary boundaries and inexperienced snow-fencing and
signage, throughout an effort by Trump supporters to storm into Congress
with the intention of undermining the election. He was arrested in Arizona
final March and confronted seven fees, together with assaulting, resisting, or
impeding officers, civil dysfunction, partaking in bodily violence in a
restricted constructing or grounds, and acts of bodily violence on Capitol

The FBI recognized Zerkle from the footage and in contrast the photographs to his Arizona driver’s license photograph. In October 2021, an agent interviewed Zerkle at his house in Bowie, a small hamlet on Interstate 10 east of Willcox. Zerkle informed the agent that he went to Washington D.C. on Jan. 2 with a member of the family, to “protest election integrity,” and that he didn’t attend Trump’s speech, as a result of “he went to the Capitol to protest, to not hearken to speeches.”

Zerkle admitted that he “pushed into some cops and that he most likely did one thing dumb” throughout the riot on January 6, and informed the FBI agent that he was “shoved into the police and was attempting to guard himself, however didn’t intend to assault a police officer,” in keeping with court docket information.

The Konolds joins the ranks of different Capitol rioters from Arizona, which incorporates Jacob Angeli, who turned well-known within the QAnon conspiracy motion for his exceptional sartorial decisions. Angeli usually went shirtless at occasions, wore leather-based breaches, and was capped with a furry, horned headdress. When he entered the Capitol constructing, he was carrying an American flag connected to a spear, and had his face painted purple, white and blue.

Final November, Angeli was sentenced to 41 months in jail after a federal decide referred to as him “the epitome of the riot.”