NC man, Texas girlfriend charged in Jan. 6 US Capitol riot | Charlotte Observer

Politics & Government

NC man, Texas girlfriend posed inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. Next stop: A courtroom

They’ll always have the Capitol.

On Jan. 6, Bradley Stuart Bennett and Elizabeth Rose Williams — identified in an FBI affidavit as a romantic couple — joined hundreds of other Donald Trump supporters in the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol, newly unsealed government documents show.

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In this Facebook image included in an FBI document, Bradley Stuart Bennett and Elizabeth Rose Williams stand outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Both have been charged in the assault on the building.

Bennett was a QAnon devotee from small-town North Carolina, according to court records. She was a musician, lifestyle coach and essential oils guru from San Antonio.

In a series of videos and photographs posted real-time from the day, the couple strolled through the Capitol and posed inside the Senate chambers. Williams mugged for the camera both inside the iconic building and outside on its grounds.

“TODAY WAS A REVOLUTIONARY MESSAGE,” Bennett roared in an all-caps Facebook mini-manifesto posted that day. “WE WON’T GO AWAY. WE WILL FIND VICTORY.”

For now, both must find lawyers.

In late March, multiple publications reported that Williams and Bennett had been arrested in connection with the Capitol violence. But the headlines were wrong.

At one time, Bennett and Williams apparently intended to blend their lives in San Antonio, court records show. He took his Texas driver’s license road test in her car, and the license examiner at the time told the FBI that Williams also was on hand. Multiple tipsters who sent Bennett’s Capitol photos and video to the FBI also identified the pair as a couple.

For some undisclosed reason, however, Bennett wasn’t around in Texas at the time of his Williams’ arrest on March 24. She was later released on bond.

He surfaced this week in Charlotte, where he surrendered to the FBI. Just before noon on Monday, he walked into an uptown federal courtroom charged with the now-familiar battery of charges tied to the effort by Trump supporters to overturn the presidential election.

“Patriots going to war,” is how Bennett put it in his video of the Capitol riot, the FBI affidavit shows.

Bennett remained in custody Friday at the Mecklenburg County Jail, where he awaits transfer to the federal courts of Washington, which will prosecute his case.

He joins some 420 others facing trial in connection with the Capitol siege. At least 12 are from North Carolina.

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In this New York Times Magazine image taken from an FBI document, a man believed to be Stephen Ethan Horn of Wake Forest stands over other people with a cellphone in his left hand inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. FBI

Wake Forest man also charged

Another North Carolina man charged in connection with the violence, Stephen Ethan Horn, surrendered to the FBI on April 9 and made his initial appearance in Raleigh federal court. He is charged with three federal crimes.

A photo included in Horn’s court file shows the helmeted Wake Forest man standing above the Capitol fray while he appears to be filming with his phone.

In an FBI affidavit, Horn is quoted as saying that he did not take part in the violence or the protest and did not go into the Capitol in search of “cheap thrills.” Rather, Horn said, he entered to “accurately document and record a significant event.”

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These Facebook images included in an FBI document show Bradley Stuart Bennett inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. FBI

Tipsters ID QAnon supporter

Jail records indicate that Bennett is a resident of the Randolph County town of Trinity, population 6,600, about 75 miles north of Charlotte.

In its affidavit, the FBI says multiple tipsters identified him as an outspoken adherent to the unfounded QAnon theory, which holds that former President Trump was fighting a Democratic Party conspiracy of demonic, cannibalistic pedophiles.

In the days leading up to Jan. 6, when Congress was scheduled to certified Trump’s electoral loss to now-President Joe Biden, Bennett said he would be in Washington for a Trump rally and urged others to join him.

“FAIR WARNING: If this election is stolen for Biden, Patriots will go TO WAR,’’ Bennett posted on Jan. 6, according to the affidavit.

By the end of the day, one of the country’s most iconic architectural symbols resembled a war zone. Five people had died, 140 police officers had been injured, while the Capitol was hit with millions of dollars of damages.

NC residents who face federal charges for the US Capitol riot

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Michael Gordon has been the Observer’s legal affairs writer since 2013. He has been an editor and reporter at the paper since 1992, occasionally writing about schools, religion, politics and sports. He spent two summers as “Bikin Mike,” filing stories as he pedaled across the Carolinas.
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