NewsNational NewsScripps News


Oath Keeper and Army vet gets 8.5 years in prison for storming Capitol

Ohio resident Jessica Watkins was found guilty of conspiring to obstruct Congress' certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
Oath Keeper and Army vet gets 8.5 years in prison for storming Capitol
Posted at 1:59 PM, May 26, 2023

An Army veteran who stormed the U.S. Capitol building with fellow Oath Keepers on Jan. 6, 2020, was sentenced Friday to more than eight years in federal prison, one day after the group's founder received an 18-year sentence for attempting to disrupt certification of the 2020 election results.

Ohio resident Jessica Watkins was acquitted of a seditious conspiracy charge in November, but jurors found her guilty of conspiring to obstruct Congress' certification of President Joe Biden's election victory.

Judge Amit Mehta called Watkin's actions on that day "assaultive" and said she did not have remorse.

"Your role that day was more aggressive, more assaultive, more purposeful than perhaps others,' and you led others to fulfill your purposes," Mehta said, according to a report by CNN. "And there was not in the immediate aftermath any sense of shame or contrition, just the opposite. Your comments were celebratory and lacked a real sense of the gravity of that day and your role in it."

Watkins apologized for her actions before being sentenced, saying she was "just another idiot running around the Capitol" on Jan. 6.

"And today you're going to hold this idiot responsible," she told Judge Mehta.

SEE MORE: Oath Keepers founder sentenced to 18 years for role in Jan. 6 attack

During the nearly two-month trial in Washington federal court, jurors were shown evidence of Watkins and other Oath Keepers dressed in helmets and military-style gear while marching their way through the crowd outside the Capitol. She also used a walkie-talkie app to communicate to others that they were "in the main dome right now."

Another Oath Keeper and Army veteran, Kenneth Harrelson, will also be sentenced later Friday. He is said to have been the group's "ground team lead" on Jan. 6, and prosecutors are seeking a 15-year prison sentence.

Stewart Rhodes, who founded the far-right group, was sentenced to 18 years on Thursday for seditious conspiracy. The previous longest sentence in the more than 1,000 Capitol riot cases was 14 years for a man who attacked police officers with pepper spray and a chair as he stormed the building.

Trending stories at