More charges filed against 2 Champaign County residents accused in Capitol riot

WASHINGTON D.C. — Authorities charged an apparent leader of the extremist Oath Keeper group and two Champaign County residents with conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States in connection to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to federal court records.

Amended complaints were filed this afternoon for Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl, both of Champaign County, charging them each with additional federal charges, including conspiracy and destruction of government property.

Both are being held in the Montgomery County Jail. Watkins will be sent to Washington D.C. to have her initial detention hearing and Crowl will be staying in the Montgomery County Jail pending his detention hearing Friday at 11:30 a.m.

Both Watkins and Crowl face a maximum of 42.5 years each.

Authorities also took 65-year-old Thomas Edward Caldwell, of Clarke County, Virginia, into custody early Tuesday to face four federal charges, including the conspiracy charge, according to the Washington Post.

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

A court affidavit said Caldwell helped to organize a group of up to 10 people who were seen wearing military-style gear during the insurrection.

Caldwell’s arrest comes after Watkins and Crowl were arrested Monday. The FBI said Caldwell, Watkins and Crowl have ties to the Oath Keepers.

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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.

According to the affidavit, Caldwell sent a Facebook message where he discussed scouting lodging for several others at a Comfort Inn in Virginia about eight miles from the Capitol that “would allow us to go hunting at night if we wanted to.”

On Jan. 1, the FBI said Crowl sent a Facebook message to Caldwell saying “guess I’ll be seeing you are the man Commander,” the affidavit read.

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According to the affidavit, a witness said Watkins returned to Ohio after the riot, but left Ohio on or about Jan. 14 “to stay with a friend and fellow Oath Keeper...”Tom” or “Commander Tom.” The FBI said it believes that person was Caldwell, according to the affidavit.