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U.S. Capitol riot one year later: Most defendants are at home awaiting court hearings

Former U.S. atty: Uncovering truth "takes time"
Hundreds of Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.
Posted at 12:38 AM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 19:24:39-05

CINCINNATI — Jared Kastner stood in the front doorway of his parents' two-story home in Beavercreek on Tuesday insisting that he's "innocent" of all charges filed against him in the massive ongoing federal criminal investigation of the United States Capitol breach and riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Kastner and thousands of others had attended a rally that day on the Capitol grounds protesting the results of the presidential election.

According to an FBI affidavit, video shows Kastner, 24, with a crowd inside the Capitol "pushing toward and through law enforcement officers who are attempting to hold the crowd back."

Kastner is not accused of trying to harm people, damaging property or making threats.

A red arrow points at Jared Kastner seen in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to an FBI affidavit.
A red arrow points at Jared Kastner seen in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to an FBI affidavit.

He's charged with four counts alleging he engaged in disorderly or disruptive conduct inside a restricted area, including the Capitol building.

"I don't want to be portrayed as if I had a plan to do nefarious acts," Kastner said. "I was more or less just a bystander and there to observe. There's nothing that I did that I really feel was wrong."

Kastner, arrested on Dec. 8, is charged in one of the most recent criminal cases filed in the Department of Justice probe of the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

More than 700 individuals, including 53 from Ohio and Kentucky, are charged with crimes that vary from assaulting police officers to what amounts to trespassing, according to the George Washington University Center on Extremism, which tracks developments in each case.

Court records show federal agents collected and reviewed thousands of hours of police body camera video, surveillance video and hundreds of thousands of social media posts to identify defendants.

Former United States Attorney David DeVillers
Former United States Attorney David DeVillers

"The social media aspect of it is unlike anything I've ever seen," former U.S. Attorney David DeVillers said. "A lot of people bragged about things they did. And, you know, that goes a long way as far as evidence of intent."

DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio from November 2019 thru February 2021, is now a partner with the law firm Barnes and Thornburg, LLP.

About one-third of the defendants from Ohio and Kentucky have pleaded guilty, according to the WCPO 9 I-Team's review of those cases.

Court records show their sentences range from 45 days in jail to probation.

Most defendants, including nearly all of those charged with the most serious crimes, are at home awaiting court hearings in their cases.

Bennie Parker, 70, and his wife, Sandra Parker, 60, of Morrow, Ohio, are charged with conspiring with other members of the far-right militia group Oath Keepers to forcibly storm the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from affirming the Electoral College vote that certified Joe Biden's victory over then-President Donald Trump.

According to an FBI affidavit, most members of their group, including Sandra Parker, moved in a "stack" tactical formation as they entered the Capitol.

Sandra Parker and other Oath Keepers inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a photo included in an FBI affidavit.
Sandra Parker and other Oath Keepers inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a photo included in an FBI affidavit.

On Tuesday, Bennie Parker spoke with the I-Team briefly outside his home.

He declined to discuss his case.

"They won't let me talk about it," Parker said.

He griped about a bank refusing his business.

"I can't get a home loan," Parker said. "I'm under indictment."

Then, minutes later, he drove away.

The federal investigation of the Capitol riot started almost immediately but, DeVillers said, it may take years for federal agents and prosecutors to get the evidence needed to get at the roots of what happened and who was responsible for it.

DeVillers insisted that a current Congressional investigation is unlikely to answer those important questions.

"I'm telling you it's too soon," he said. "Getting people to talk. That takes time."

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