2 years later: 35 Central Florida residents face Capitol riot charges

Fewer than half of the cases have been resolved in court

ORLANDO, Fla. – Two years after large groups of people stormed the U.S. Capitol, fewer than half of the cases involving Central Florida residents have been resolved, according to court records.

To date, 35 Central Florida residents have been arrested and charged for their involvement in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

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Eleven of the cases have ended with plea deals or guilty verdicts.

The charges range from simple misdemeanors to the highest charge leveled so far in the investigation – seditious conspiracy.

Kelly Meggs, of Dunnellon, the Florida leader of the Oath Keepers, was convicted of seditious conspiracy alongside the national leader of the group, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, in November of last year.

Kenneth Harrelson, of Titusville, an Oath Keepers member, was convicted of lesser charges in the same trial.

They will all be sentenced later this year.

Florida leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers were spotlighted during the first televised hearing of the January 6 Select Committee on Thursday.

Right now, jury selection continues in the seditious conspiracy trial of Joseph Biggs, a prominent leader of the Proud Boys. He is being tried with the former national leader of the group Enrique Tarrio.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

Over the last year alone, the U.S. Department of Justice reports more than 200 additional arrests in their investigation.

According to court records, nine of those arrests took place in Central Florida within the last year.

Those arrests included a group of five men linked to the Three Percenters movement.

Dept. of Justice documents identify the group B Squad at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Courtesy: U.S. Dept. of Justice) (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

John Edward Crowley, Brian Preller, Benjamin Cole, Tyler Quintin Bensch and Jonathan Alan Rockholt were arrested in August.

Investigators accused them of being part of a militia that traveled from Central Florida to Washington, D.C.

Investigators claim members of the group, armed with knives, batons and pepper spray, were seen on closed circuit surveillance video entering the tunnel at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, where they joined the crowd in trying to “heave-ho” past law enforcement.

They were all charged with civil disorder and entering a restricted building or grounds.

They have pleaded not guilty as well.

Investigators said their search for those involved in the attack on Jan. 6, 2021, is not over.

Videos are still posted on the FBI’s website in hopes that someone will recognize the people shown.

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About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.