Third Oath Keeper Sentenced to Prison this Week for January 6 Crimes

May 26, 2023


Army veteran Jessica Watkins was sentenced Friday to 8.5 years in prison after being convicted of crimes related to the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.

Her sentencing came one day after Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs were sentenced to 18 years and 12 years behind bars, respectively, for seditious conspiracy related to January 6.

Watkins, along with Oath Keeper and fellow army vet Kenneth Harrelson who was also scheduled to be sentenced Friday, were acquitted of seditious conspiracy in November, but the pair were each convicted of obstructing justice. 

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, the same judge who sentenced Rhodes and Meggs on Thursday, presided over Watkins’ sentencing.

Watkins was the founder and leader of an Ohio-based militia. On January 6 she marched with Harrelson and other Oath Keepers in “stack” formation.

Attorneys for the Oath Keepers argued during trial that the right-wing extremists had no plan to attack the Capitol on January 6 and insisted they never intended to interfere with Congress’ certification of President Biden’s electoral college victory over then-President Trump. 

Watkins testified that storming the Capitol was a “really stupid” decision, saying she got swept up in what seemed to be a “very American moment.”

During Friday’s sentencing hearing she continued to express regret. “My actions and my behaviors that fateful day were wrong, and as I now understand, criminal,” Watkins said. “Violence is never the answer.”

According to the Justice Department, more than 1,033 suspects have been arrested in nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia related to the assault on the U.S. Capitol. A reported more than 500 of them have been sentenced, with more than half receiving prison terms ranging from a week to over 14 years.

Four people died during the insurrection, and five police officers died of various causes following the attack.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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