Three people linked to the paramilitary Oath Keepers group were indicted on Wednesday for conspiring to obstruct Congress on Jan. 6.
Jessica Marie Watkins, 38, and Donovan Ray Crowl, 50, both of Champaign County, Ohio, and Thomas Caldwell, 65, of Clarke County, Virginia, were indicted in federal court in Washington on charges including conspiracy, destruction of government property, and unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds.
The trio each face decades in prison if convicted.
According to charging documents, the three accused communicated with each other prior to Jan. 6 and “coordinated their attack,” the Department of Justice said. The exchanges included discussions about lodging options and joining forces with other Oath Keepers members.
All three used social media to document their participation in the activities of Jan. 6. Caldwell, for instance, posted on Facebook: “We are surging forward. Doors breached.” Watkins posted pictures of herself and Crowl on Parler that stated, in part, “We before forcing entry into the Capitol Building.”
In addition, the FBI obtained an audio recording of communications over Zello between Watkins and other suspected Oath Keepers members during the Capitol incursion.
In one transmission, authorities said, Watkins told the others: “We have a good group. We have about 30-40 of us. We are sticking together and sticking to the plan.” An unknown male responds, “We’ll see you soon, Jess. Airborne.”
Watkins and Crowl in interviews with media after the breach stated that they are Oath Keepers members. They are also part of the Ohio State Regular Militia, which is described in an indictment as a dues-paying subset of the Oath Keepers. Caldwell is affiliated with the Oath Keepers.
The three accused did not have attorneys listed on the court docket. The Oath Keepers didn’t respond to a request for comment. Contact information for the Ohio State Regular Militia couldn’t be found.
The Oath Keepers describes itself as a nonpartisan group of current and former military members and law enforcement officers “who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to ‘defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.'”
Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin told reporters in a call earlier in the week that people linked to the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and the Three Percenters have been charged in the breach.
Some of the people who breached the Capitol were affiliated with groups, while some “were operating in a vacuum,” he added.
Group links are “not dispositive of what we’re looking at,” he said. “There are plenty of people, a balance of people probably, that were not affiliated with a group that we’re looking at.”