Federal indictment sheds new light on NC connections to US Capitol violence

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new federal document is providing some insight into North Carolina’s connections to the violence at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6.

The indictment filed on Wednesday lists Thomas Edward Caldwell, Donovan Ray Crowl and Jessica Marie Watkins as defendants in the case. They are facing charges that include conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding and destruction of government property.

>> Read the federal indictment here.

Watkins, 38, and Crowl, 50, are both from Champaign County, Ohio.

Caldwell, 65, is from Clarke County, Virginia.

Caldwell, Crowl and Watkins started communicating with each other in November 2020 on a variety of topics, including the Jan. 6 situation at the Capitol, according to the indictment. Crowl attended a training camp in North Carolina in December 2020, though the document doesn’t say where the training camp was or what it involved.

The document also details text messages from Watkins describing a week-long “Basic Training class coming up in the beginning of January” in Ohio.

“It’s a military-style basic, here in Ohio, with a Marine Drill Sergeant running it. An hour north of Columbus, Ohio,” she wrote.

In Facebook messages sent between Caldwell and Crowl on Jan. 1, Caldwell talked about a group of people from North Carolina who were planning to travel to D.C.

“I will probably do a pre-strike on the 5th though there are things going on that day. Maybe can do some night hunting. Oathkeeper friends from North Carolina are taking commercial buses up early in the morning on the 6th and back same night,” Caldwell wrote.

The indictment says that The Oath Keepers are, “a large but loosely organized collection of militia who believe that the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights. Though the Oath Keepers will accept anyone as members, what differentiates them from other anti-government groups is their explicit focus on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement, and first-responder personnel.”

While discussing which hotel to stay at in Arlington, Virginia, Caldwell again mentioned people from North Carolina.

“This is a good location and would allow us to hunt at night if we wanted to. I don’t know if [PERSON ONE] has even gotten out his call to arms but its a little friggin late. This is one we are doing on our own. We will link up with the North Carolina crew,” the document states.

You can read the entire 15-page indictment by clicking HERE.

The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at fbi.gov/USCapitol.