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Court records: 2 Champaign County residents accused of being involved in Capitol riot

Two Champaign County residents have been arrested and are accused of entering the U.S. Capitol during the riot on Jan. 6, according to federal court records.

Jessica M. Watkins, 38, and Donovan Crowl, 50, were arrested by federal agents and are currently being held in the Montgomery County Jail on unspecified federal charges.

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News Center 7 obtained an affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. that shows the FBI believes both Watkins and Crowl “traveled to Washington, D.C., and knowingly and willfully joined and encouraged a crowd of individuals who forcibly entered the U.S. Capitol and impeded, disrupted, and disturbed the orderly conduct of business by the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.”

The affidavit shows both of them could face at least three federal charges related to the Capitol riot.

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Watkins shared social media posts on Parler that showed her in an Oath Keepers uniform, which is the same outfit a federal agent said she was wearing when she was captured on video with “8 to 10 individuals in paramilitary equipment aggressively approaching an entrance to the Capitol building,” the affidavit said.

“These individuals, who are wearing helmets, reinforced vests, and clothing with Oath Keeper paraphernalia, move in an organized and practiced fashion and force their way to the front of the crowd gathered around a door to the U.S. Capitol,” the agent wrote.

>> SEE: The evidence the FBI cites in court records that they say link Watkins and Crowl to riot

The Oath Keepers are a large but loosely organized collection of militia who believe that the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights, according to the FBI.

Watkins and Crowl are said to affiliated with or members of the Ohio State Regular Militia, which is a local militia organization that is a subset of the Oath Keepers, the FBI reported.

The FBI said Watkins also posed a video on Parler from Jan. 6 where she said “Yeah. We stormed the Capitol today. Teargassed, the whole, 9. Pushed our way into the Rotunda. Made it into the Senate even,” the affidavit read.

According to the affidavit, the FBI also used photos and video taken at the Capitol, including inside the Capitol Rotunda, to identify both Watkins and Crowl.

News Center 7 spoke with Watkins’ long-term boyfriend by phone Sunday afternoon after he said the FBI briefly detained him during a standoff in downtown Woodstock Sunday morning.

“They were interested in her for questioning her regarding that event,” the man said Sunday afternoon. “She never went that day to perform any illicit acts, let alone anything that would be approaching the charge of terrorism or domestic insurrection.”

Video obtained by News Center 7 on Facebook shows several FBI vehicles around the apartment at the intersection of East Bennett and Main streets around 6 a.m. Authorities had what appeared to be a spotlight fixed on the second story.

“Jessica Watkins this is the FBI with a warrant. Come to the back door with your hands up and empty,” an FBI officer is heard saying over a bullhorn in the video.

The video also included loud bangs and flashes right before several law enforcement members enter into the apartment.


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