D.C. riot: Prosecutors add new counts to Champaign County pair now facing 40 years

Prosecutors have filed motions asking a magistrate to prevent two Champaign County residents accused in connection to the Capitol Building riot from being released from jail.

Jessica Watkins, 38, and Donovan Crowl, 50, appeared in front of Southern District of Ohio Magistrate Sharon Ovington on Tuesday afternoon for an initial appearance. There, Watkins and Crowl were informed the charges against them now are conspiracy, conspiracy to impede or injure officer, destruction of government property, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering restricted building or grounds and violent entry or disorderly conduct.

They both face more than 40 years in prison if convicted.

The two were seen separately by the magistrate. Ovington asked Watkins if she understood the charges against her.

“I understand them but I don’t understand how I got them,” she told the magistrate.

Prosecutors say Watkins and Crowl participated in the Capitol riots in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6. An affidavit filed in U.S. District Court says they are members of a paramilitary organization known as the Oath Keepers that was among the individuals and groups that forcibly entered the U.S. Capitol when it was closed to the public while Congres met to certify Electoral College votes for the 2020 presidential election.

Watkins said on her Parler social media account that she is the commanding officer of the Ohio State Regular Militia, based in Champaign County, the court records say. Crowl also is a member of the group, which was identified as a dues-paying subset of the Oath Keepers, the affidavit states.

Photographs and videos of the breach on the Capitol building appear to show Crowl and Watkins outside and inside the building, according to the court documents.

Also during her hearing, Ovington told Watkins that she has the right to choose where she wishes to have a detention hearing and a pretrial hearing, and she told the magistrate she wants them to take place in Washington D.C.

Meanwhile, Crowl’s hearing took place right after Watkins’. Crowl told the judge that he understood the charges and told the judge he wants the hearings to take place in Dayton.

A hearing to decide whether the magistrate should give a bond to Crowl is set to take place Friday.

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