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Two Ohio Militia Members Face Federal Charges Over U.S. Capitol Riot

Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl, both members of the Ohio State Regular Militia, were arrested for taking part in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Montgomery County Jail
Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl, both members of the Ohio State Regular Militia, were arrested for taking part in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Two Champaign County residents who are members of the far-right Ohio State Regular Militia were arrested over the weekend on federal charges that they joined the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6.

Jessica Watkins, 38, and Donovan Crowl, 50, face three charges in the riot that left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer, and interrupted a session of Congress. Charges include entering a restricted building or grounds, violent entry or disorderly conduct, and obstruction of an official proceeding.

Investigators say Watkins, a bartender, shared videos online showing herself and Crowl at the Capitol. Watkins wrote, “Yea. We stormed the Capitol today. Teargassed, the whole, 9. Pushed our way into the Rotunda. Made it into the Senate even.” During a January 13 interview with the Ohio Capital Journal, Watkins is quoted as saying, “To me it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw until we started hearing glass smash. That’s when we knew things had gotten really bad.”

Crowl, a former marine, confirmed he had entered the Capitol in an interview with The New Yorkersaying that he "expelled" three people who were injured during the insurrection.

Watkins and Crowl are being held at the Montgomery County Jail.

The FBI says the Ohio State Regular Militia are a subset of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government group that recruits current and former military and law enforcement personnel. The criminal complaint calls the Oath Keepers a "large but loosely organized collection of militia who believe that the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights."

Several other members are also facing charges related to the insurrection.

U.S. Attorney Dave DeVillers says that Ohioans accused of committing crimes at the Capitol will be prosecuted by the acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, while the Southern District of Ohio office will handle cases of people alleged to have made threat related to the riots.

Two other Ohioans currently face federal charges related to the January 6 siege: Justin Stollof Wilmington and former Cleveland Schools employee Christine Priola.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.