Husband and Wife Arrested in Connection to Capitol Insurrection
MORROW, Ohio – A Morrow couple has been arrested and federally charged in connection to the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.
Bennie Parker, 70, and his wife Sandra, 60, face charges of conspiracy, destruction of government property, being on restricted building or grounds and obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting.
Neighbors told Local 12 that the FBI raided the Parkers’ home on Essex Glen and arrested them Thursday morning.
Sandra Parker is accused of joining the other Oath Keepers in breaching the Capitol while Bennie Parker remained in communication on the Capitol grounds.
According to court documents, the Parkers were working with self-described militia members out of Woodstock, Ohio, Jessica Watkins and Donavan Crowl. They are affiliated with the Oath Keepers. Court papers say anyone can be members of the Oath Keepers.
Investigators describe the Oath Keepers as “a large but loosely organized collection of militia that believes that the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights.”
Watkins and Crowl were arrested in January. Search warrants of their homes were executed. They, along with Thoms Caldwell, were indicted by a federal grand jury.
Sandra Parker is believed to have been part of the “stack” that breached the Capitol doors, along with Watkins and Crowl. A stack is a tactical formation where members keep their hands on the backs or vests of the person in front of them to remain together.
Investigators believe they’ve also identified Sandra Parker as one of the Oath Keepers caught on surveillance video inside the Capitol.
Text conversations between Bennie Parker and Jessica Watkins outline the Parkers joining in with Watkins and Crowl. Bennie Parker allegedly texted Watkins, “I may have to see what it takes to join your militia, ours is about gone.”
More text messages detail meeting in Ohio and going to Washington, D.C. together. They also discussed the uniforms, gear and weapons they would bring, according to court papers.
The Parkers, Watkins and Caldwell stayed at the same Comfort Inn in Arlington, Virginia and are seen on surveillance video there, according to the indictment.
There are several surveillance and media photos appearing to show Sandra Parker inside the Capitol.
After the insurrection, Watkins and Bennie Parker continue to communicate. They were following the FBI wanted list and didn’t see any militia on it. “I’ve been following the FBI wanted list, seems they’re only interested in people who destroyed things. I wouldn’t worry about them coming after us,” according to documents.
The Parkers have been released from custody without posting bond.
In all, investigators say the Capitol suffered millions of dollars in damage, including broken windows and doors, graffiti and residue of pepper sprays, tear gas and fire extinguishers.
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