Webler’s attorney, Thomas Hawker, described his client’s role in the riot as “relatively peaceful” compared to other rioters and said he was just caught up in the excitement of the crowd.
“Should he have not walked through (the window)? Absolutely,” Hawker said. “ That’s why he is sitting in an orange jumpsuit in a jail south of town right now.”
Hawker is in custody while awaiting trial later this month on federal weapons charges that could result in a substantially longer prison sentence. According to court records, when investigators looking into his role in the Capitol riot searched his home on Shamrock Drive near Decatur, they discovered a hand-built, short-barreled rifle, three silencers and ammunition.
Possession of an unregistered firearm and the unregistered silencers each carry a possible 10-year federal prison sentence. Federal law requires rifles with barrels less than 16 inches in length and silencers to be registered with the ATF.
Unlike most of the nearly 800 people arrested in the massive Capitol riot investigation, Webler has prior felony convictions. As a result he faces the added charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, which also carries a 10-year penalty. Webler was convicted of aggravated assault and auto theft in 2000 and burglary convictions related to the theft of copper from a commercial building in Gwinnett County in 2011.
He was on probation from the theft convictions at the time of his arrest on the Capitol riot charge.
Hawker said his client maintained a peaceful attitude, “politely asking Capitol Police how to get out” and scolding other rioters who were damaging property.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Prout said Webler should not be rewarded for not breaking more laws. He knew he was not supposed to be there, she said.
Videos, including some shot by Webler on his phone, showed him inside the Capitol singing “Happy Birthday” to himself and exclaiming “Woo, 1776!,” court records say. Webler’s birthday is Jan. 6.