Husband And Wife Duo Planned Capitol Attack With Oath Keepers, Feds Charge

This Jan. 6 photo "appears to show Sandra Parker sitting inside the Capitol," according to an FBI agent's affidavit. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
February 19, 2021 3:19 p.m.

A husband and wife planned their role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack with a group of Oath Keepers, federal prosecutors alleged in charging documents filed Thursday. 

Sandra Parker, 60, and her husband Bennie Parker, 70, were allegedly affiliated with the same group of Oath Keepers militia members that has already been indicted on conspiracy charges for the alleged planning they did before participating in the riot. 

The Parkers were two of the six people indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday, added as codefendants in an existing case against three others who allegedly planned their actions on Jan. 6.

The Parkers, as well as Graydon Young, Laura Steele, Kelly Megs and Connie Meggs, now face a conspiracy charge, as well as counts for aiding and abetting the depredation of government property, obstructing an official proceeding, and entering a restricted building or grounds.

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The three others on the indictment were charged weeks ago: Jessica Watkins, Donovan Crowl and Thomas Caldwell allegedly used Facebook messages and a walkie talkie app to communicate during the attack.

Sandra Parker, the feds say, moved with a larger group of Oath Keepers that used a “stack” formation to snake its way to the Capitol doors and then get inside. Her husband stayed outside during the attack but assisted by “staying in communication with members inside the Capitol,” according to an FBI agent’s affidavit.

Caldwell allegedly received messages during the attack with purported information about elected officials’ whereabouts and instructions to “seal them in” and “Turn on gas.” (Caldwell’s lawyer has said his client did not enter the Capitol and that he is not a member of the Oath Keepers.) 

According to the FBI agent’s affidavit, it wasn’t terribly difficult to track the Parkers down. 

Watkins, who allegedly recruited people to travel to D.C. on Jan. 6, had Bennie Parker in her phone as “Recruit Ben,” the affidavit said, and Watkins’ alleged text messages with Parker showed them planning for the Washington event. 

“We are retired so we can meet anytime,” Parker allegedly told Watkins in late December, referring, the feds say, to becoming a member of the Oath Keepers. 

On Jan. 3, according to the affidavit, Watkins told Parker that it would be okay to bring weapons to D.C.

“So I can bring my gun?” Parker allegedly asked.

The FBI also found pictures of Sandra Parker on Watkins’ phone from the day of the attack, which they subsequently matched to photos showing her inside the Capitol, the affidavit said. Husband and wife both allegedly wore camouflage and tactical helmets to the attack. 

A few days afterward, Watkins texted Bennie Parker to discuss the FBI’s “wanted” list, the affidavit alleged.

“Seems they’re only interested in people who destroyed things,” she wrote. “I wouldn’t worry about them coming after us.” 

This post has been updated.

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