On Jan. 6, thousands of former President Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol because they believed Democrats had stolen the election. But in looking for justice, they allegedly killed five and injured more than 140 people. They also broke several federal laws as they rushed through the capitol, seeking to do harm to liberal congressional leaders.
Since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the FBI are investigating and have charged hundreds of individuals across the country. And, according to The Washington Post, 19 of those charged are North Texans, which is “one of the largest numbers in any place in the country.”
“More arrests are coming, and North Texas remains a focus for investigators who expect to charge as many as 400 people from across the country in the attack on the Capitol,” The Post reporter Annie Gowan wrote in her March 22 report. (Though D Magazine Editor Tim Rogers had plenty to complain about regarding her knowledge of North Texas, even he agrees it’s a fascinating subject.)
But who are some of these North Texans? And where do their cases stand? Here are five of some of the most high-profile Capitol riot cases against North Texans.
Luke Coffee, a Dallas actor and director, was once known for his appearance in NBC’s “Friday Night Lights.” Now, he’s known for his role in the Capitol riots.
Coffee went to the Capitol after he started believing in two conspiracy theories that he became acquainted with while stuck in quarantine — QAnon and that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, according to Texas Monthly.
According to a statement of facts document regarding Coffee’s case, Coffee used a crutch to assault police officers from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. Video showed Coffee pushing his crutch into a line of MPD and U.S. Capitol Police officers.
The document also claims that, based on body-cam footage from officers, Coffee “intended to further use the crutch as blunt object weapon by positioning the crutch directly toward the officer’s upper chest/head area.”
Following his time at the Capitol, he stayed at a resort, but claimed he wasn’t hiding from the FBI and was only on vacation, Texas Monthly reported. Eventually, Coffee surrendered to Dallas authorities and was arrested on Feb. 25. However, he believes his actions at the Capitol were done out of “self-defense.”
Coffee was charged with five counts for his participation in the Capitol riot. His charges include the assault of a federal law enforcement officer with a dangerous weapon, interference with a law enforcement officer during civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, unlawful entry on restricted grounds, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Fox4 News reported that during Coffee’s hearing on March 8, a federal judge ordered Coffee’s pretrial release with certain conditions. But prosecutors requested a stay for Washington D.C. district court to reconsider. Because of that, Coffee will not be released until the court reviews his status, “and there is no timeline on when that would occur.”
Nicholas DeCarlo of Burleson looked harmless as he smoked a cigarette inside the Capitol, claiming to be a journalist. He arrived at the Capitol with a Hawaiian man named Nicholas Ochs, leader and founder of the Hawaii Proud Boys chapter.
But things took a much darker turn when DeCarlo claimed he worked for MT Media News, which stands for “Murder the Media News,” according to CBS DFW. According to the indictment, DeCarlo conspired with Ochs to stop Congress’ certification of the election results. The two wrote the words “MURDER THE MEDIA” on the Capitol’s memorial door.
His actions at the Capitol ended in being charged with six counts. He was indicted on all six charges, along with a seventh for engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds.
His charges included conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, destruction of government property, theft of government property, restricted building or grounds, and aiding and abetting.
DeCarlo and Ochs “planned and raised money” to travel to Washington D.C. to stop certification of the 2020 election results, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. The two also stole a pair of handcuffs from U.S. Capitol Police.
DeCarlo admitted to the Los Angeles Times that he entered the Capitol but said he was simply covering the riot as a journalist and didn’t break in or cause damage.
DeCarlo was arrested on Jan. 26. Both he and Ochs face the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release.
Richardson man Garret Miller was just a law-abiding Texas citizen, his attorney told Courthouse News Service. He went to the Capitol because he was following Trump’s orders, CNBC reported. But while he had no criminal record before, he sure does now.
Miller’s time at the Capitol resulted in a laundry list of charges. He was arrested on Jan. 20 and indicted on all 12 charges.
His charges include two counts of civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers, two counts of interstate threats to injure or kidnap, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, impeding ingress and egress in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, impeding passage through the Capitol grounds or buildings, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
According to the indictment, Miller threatened to assassinate Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He also threatened a U.S. Capitol police officer by saying he would “hug his neck with a nice rope,” the officer deserved to die, and it was “huntin’ season.”
Miller is being represented by Clinton Broden, who told Courthouse News Service that Miller “regrets and takes responsibility for his actions that were a misguided effort to show his support for former President Trump.”
At a Jan. 25 hearing, Miller waived the right to a preliminary hearing. Magistrate Judge Rebecca Rutherford ordered him held without bond, NBC DFW reported.
Veteran Larry Brock of Grapevine was a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force who served four tours in Afghanistan, according to The New Yorker. But friends and family members of Brock said he had become increasingly radical over the years. Two of his family members told The New Yorker that Brock made racist comments in front of them. Those two family members believe his actions at the Capitol were the result of white-supremacist views.
Brock was charged with six counts for his participation in the Capitol riot. According to the affidavit, Brock traveled to Washington D.C. and “knowingly and willfully” joined and encouraged the crowd of rioters who forcibly entered the U.S. Capitol.
His charges include entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, impeding ingress and egress in a restricted building or grounds and aiding and abetting, entering and remaining on the floor of Congress, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and impeding passage through the Capitol grounds or buildings and aiding and abetting.
During a court hearing on Jan. 14, a prosecutor alleged that Brock was holding zip ties to restrain others, CBS DFW reported. And Dallas FBI Special Agent John Moore said that Brock had been fired from a job in the past for making racist and threatening comments. His defense attorney claimed that Brock was not dangerous or violent at the Capitol and has no criminal record.
After the hearing, Brock was released from police custody to home confinement. He had to surrender his firearms and limit his internet access. On his way out of the courthouse, he declined to comment.
Frisco-realtor Jenna Ryan hopped on a private plane with a group of North Texas realtors and flew to Washington D.C. She was filled with excitement. In the days leading up to the riot, Ryan posted on her social media accounts that she was going to Washington D.C. to support former President Donald Trump. She even described her experience at the Capitol as “one of the best days of my life.”
But what was, apparently, one of the best days of her life ended when she was arrested on Jan. 15 on four charges for her role in the Capitol riot.
Her charges include entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
According to a statement of facts document about Ryan’s case, in a now-deleted Facebook Live taken by Ryan, she shows herself at the front door of the Capitol building, which has windows shattered and broken glass around it, while security alarms were going off. During this scene, she yelled: “U-S-A! U-S-A!” and “Here we are, in the name of Jesus!”
However, Ryan told The Washington Post in a Feb. 10 interview that she regrets what she did at the Capitol and feels betrayed by those she considered to be “fellow patriots.” She even tried to get a presidential pardon from Trump before he left office, which never came.
It is unclear when her preliminary trial will be held.