For the FBI, she was a militant leader who had traveled to Washington, DC, and rushed into the U.S. Capitol, and encouraged others to do the same.
The two worlds of Jessica Watkins collided in a small village in Woodstock, Ohio, when FBI agents got up early in the morning to arrest her because of her involvement in January The riots on the 6th.
Emma Dixon witnessed the raid from a house across the road before dawn.
When the FBI arrived in Woodstock, Watkins was not there. Her boyfriend Montana Siniff (Montana Siniff) is. He told CNN to use disoriented explosions. The window is broken. It remained the same after a few days.
He said that FBI agents questioned him and eventually left. In a court complaint, federal prosecutors stated that the agents had recovered “what seemed to be the direction of explosive manufacturing, created by̵
Sinniff said: “That is totally wrong. She hates explosives. There is no moral or legal way to truly use explosives as ordinary citizens.”
38-year-old Watkins is now detained in the Montgomery County Jail, about 50 miles away from Dayton, after handing himself over to the authorities on Sunday.
Records show that Watkins served in the Army under different names from April 2001 to December 2003. She was sent to Afghanistan from September 2002 to December 2002.
The three veterans are the first to face conspiracy charges, the harshest accusation so far against anyone who violated the Capitol on January 6.
CNN found that a disproportionate number of people accused in the Capitol attack were former soldiers.
“The most beautiful thing”
No one doubted Watkins went to the Capitol to protest the certification of President Biden’s election victory. Bragging about her in a video inside the Capitol building.
Her boyfriend said she went to “help protect some Trump VIP members in the rally”, but he didn’t know who it was.
After violating the Capitol, Watkins saw the scene inside the building.
She added: “Someone hijacked the peace movement.”
However, her text on Parler’s account after the breach provided a very different perspective. They were highlighted in the federal complaint against her.
She wrote: “Yes. We rushed into the Capitol today. The whole head is full of 9. Push us to the Rotunda. Even into the Senate.”
Another Watkins letter was used as evidence by the FBI: “We never crush anything, steal anything, burn anything. To be honest, we have great respect for Capitol Hill PD until they attack us. Then we Stand firm and draw a line.”
Watkins and many others came to Washington for war training. Some of them wore bulletproof helmets, army fatigue and goggles.
The video shows a group of more than a dozen people, with hands on each other’s shoulders, stepping onto the steps of the Capitol.
Federal prosecutors say that the Zello phone app used by Watkins and others can work like a walkie-talkie to communicate and plan attacks.
Watkins has yet to assign a lawyer to her. But her boyfriend did speak on her behalf. The two jointly own the Jolly Roger Bar. They were all members of the Ohio State Militia that she “ordered”. Sinniff told CNN: “She is not a violent person.” She said: “She is very refreshed, but she is very kind at heart. She really wants to help others.”
However, law enforcement agencies and many members of the House of Representatives said that the thugs who destroyed the Capitol put their lives at risk.
Link to the Oath Keeper on the far right
Sinniff said that Watkins formed a militia to help victims of tornadoes when the local authorities were absent or overwhelmed.
Paramilitary groups have a long history of establishing their own organizations in rural areas of Ohio, Michigan, and other areas, and the FBI says that sometimes things get worse.
Watkins is a member of the Oath Group, which is a pro-Trump, far-right anti-government organization that considers itself part of a militia movement to protect the country.
There are no private militias in the United States. The militia must be sanctioned by the state.
The vows are well aware that they are trying to recruit members from active or retired soldiers, emergency personnel and police. Their oath is to “defend the Constitution and defend against all enemies at home and abroad.”
The FBI stated in court documents: “If the oathor believes his reasons are fair, he will violate federal law.”
Watkins’ alleged accomplices were appointed by the FBI as former Marine Donovan Crowl and Thomas Caldwell in the Navy .
Crowl lives in the Jolly Roger Bar in Watkins, just down the street.
Neighbors told CNN that Watkins would try to recruit people when he entered the bar. Most people did not let her accept it. But Kraul did join the armed groups of Watkins and Sinniff.
Sinniff said of the former Marines: “When you are drunk, he is the one you want to shut up. When you are awake, you can have the best best man.” “The militia is a good thing to help him…this is keeping Sober reasons.”
CNN has contacted Crowl’s lawyers but has not received any response.
Crowl’s criminal record shows allegations of domestic abuse and drunk driving, some of which have been convicted. The federal judge noticed this when his lawyer tried to get him released before trial. His lawyer said that he is worthy of release because he is not dangerous to society.
The judge said: “He saw on the videotape’We overwhelmed the Capitol.’ His criminal record included violent and alcohol crimes. He also proved his previous violations. The suggestion to release him to a residence with nine firearms is Unrealistic,” Sharon Overton said. Crowl was remanded in custody, awaiting a preliminary trial in Ohio.
Rowe said: “It feels like he made a 180-degree turn. It feels like the world owes him a livelihood and a big bargaining chip on his shoulders.” “I don’t know if this is because life is not going according to his plan.”
When asked why she thought Crower might be attracted to this extreme organization, she said: “I want to understand myself. I don’t understand.”
Caldwell is the third veteran to be called an accomplice. He lives in a remote still life business on a country road in Berryville, Virginia, not far from Watkins and Watkins. It is 400 miles from the Woodstock home in Woodcro.
It is not clear how long Caldwell has known Kroll and Watkins. But the FBI said they met in Washington, DC. Crowl took a video of himself and Watkins in the Capitol and posted it on social media.
On January 6, Caldwell outside the Capitol expressed his feelings.
He screamed in the video: “Everyone inside has a traitor, and everyone is a traitor.” It seems to refer to the internal legislator.
Caldwell is his name in Virginia’s local political circles. Last year, he served as a representative of the Republican Party Congress in Clark County, Virginia.
A lawyer temporarily assigned to Caldwell said that it was unusual for him to oppose Biden’s election victory at the detention hearing and he was not charged with a violent crime.
But the judge disagreed: “The behavior and speech of Mr. Caldwell and others are actually pure lawlessness,” Judge Joel Hope of the Federal Court of Harrisonburg, Virginia, said Tuesday.
Great support for Watkins
There are about 300 people in the village of Woodstock. Many houses gather near the intersection, and the only traffic signal still hangs the “Trump 2020” banner.
According to American laws and regulations, the American Revolution also has “Don’t step on me” or the Gadsden flag. The Stars and Stripes fly upside down, which is a signal of “disaster trouble”.
Some villagers were hostile to our CNN team and called on the local sheriff to complain twice. Others are more willing to talk and argue with their neighbors to shrink back.
Even after all the videos and social media posts showed that Watkins was indignant about rushing into the Capitol, Watkins’ boyfriend defended her.
Sinniff said: “I don’t think the charge of conspiracy is fair.”
Curt Devine of CNN contributed to this story.