Georgia’s Jan. 6 defendants: Where are they now?

Kevin Douglas Creek, a roofing contractor from Johns Creek, Georgia, was arrested June 9, 2021, and charged with participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Police body camera footage appears to show Creek attacking police defending the Capitol. (U.S. Department of Justice/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Kevin Douglas Creek, a roofing contractor from Johns Creek, Georgia, was arrested June 9, 2021, and charged with participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Police body camera footage appears to show Creek attacking police defending the Capitol. (U.S. Department of Justice/TNS)

It’s been a year since a horde of angry acolytes of former President Donald Trump left a political rally at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 and marched into infamy.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 725 people have been charged with crimes ranging from illegal picketing to assaulting police officers to conspiring to stop the counting of electoral votes in the election won by Joe Biden. In remarks made Wednesday ahead of anniversary of the attack, Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged to hold the rioters accountable for their crimes and said “there is no higher priority” for his department.

“The actions we have taken thus far will not be our last,” he said. “The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

Among those charged in the sprawling investigation are 17 Georgians, some of whom face long prison sentences if convicted. Others risk lighter punishment, but their lives have been turned upside down by their actions that day.

The guilty

So far, four of Georgia’s Jan. 6 defendants have pleaded guilty. Earlier this month, Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., 53, was sentenced in federal court to 28 months in prison following his guilty plea to charges that he threatened to assassinate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I know what I did was wrong,” Meredith told the judge prior to sentencing.

These are among the weapons taken from Cleveland Meredith, who pleaded guilty to threatening to kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Credit: U.S. Department of Justice

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Credit: U.S. Department of Justice

On Dec. 1, former Marine Kevin Douglas Creek, 47, agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of assaulting a police officer in a melee outside the Capitol. The roofing contractor from Johns Creek was arrested in June after the FBI received a tip that he had been involved in the riot. Prosecutors said they had police body camera footage showing Creek hitting and kicking police.

Creek, who is out on bond, will be sentenced March 10. He faces between 24 and 30 months in prison, according to court documents.

The day after Creek pleaded, Verden Andrew Nalley, a 50-year-old construction worker from Buford, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for entering the Capitol with his buddy, Americus attorney William McCall Calhoun. He will be sentenced on March 10 as well, although he faces a shorter sentence than Creek: up to six months in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

“I just want to put it behind me,” Nalley told the judge.

Glen Mitchell “Mitch” Simon, a 30-year-old from Jefferson, pleaded guilty in October to a misdemeanor charge of demonstrating inside the Capitol. Simon, who owns a tree-removal business, faces up to six months in prison when he is sentenced next month. He wasn’t hard to find. Simon posted video of himself inside the Capitol to his social media and gave an interview to his hometown newspaper in Maine.

Jack Wade Whitton Jr. was the latest Georgian arrested in connection with the assault on the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6.

Credit: FBI

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Credit: FBI

Face in a crowd

Some Georgians face charges for their alleged actions with others.

Jack Wade Whitton, 30, of Locust Grove, is one of nine co-defendants accused of brutally attacking police attempting to stop rioters from entering the Capitol. The contractor and former CrossFit instructor was arrested in April and has been held in jail ever since. He is alleged to have told an officer during the attack, “You’re going to die tonight.”

No trial date has been set in Whitton’s case as prosecutors continue to add new defendants.

Brian Ulrich, 43, of Guyton, was arrested in August and has been accused of plotting with members of the far-right Oath Keepers in encrypted chats before the Jan. 6 riot. He is one of 19 defendants in the case, the most recent of which was arrested in November.

Ulrich’s two conspiracy counts each carry a possible five-year prison sentence. The group is moving toward a trial next spring, but the judge in the case has suggested he may break up the group and try them in smaller batches.

Ronald Vincent Loehrke, a Gainesville resident who moved to the state from Seattle after the Jan. 6 riot, was arrested this month and is accused with co-defendant, 53-year-old James Haffner of Rapid City, S.D., of entering the Capitol during the riot after tearing down barriers erected by police to stop the mob.

Jonathan Davis Laurens of Duluth, seen in this selfie posted to social media, is accused of participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. He faces multiple misdemeanor charges.

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Social media evidence

Many of the Jan. 6 defendants provided the evidence against them by posting their exploits on social media.

Blas Fabian Santillan, 26, of Clayton, was arrested in August, but he had been on the FBI list since January after a tipster saw videos on his Snapchat account showing him inside the Capitol. “I’m the only one that was willing to kick that door. Who else is willing to storm in there?” he allegedly said in one video.

Prosecutors say Duluth resident Jonathan Davis Laurens, 38, posted selfies to Facebook from inside the Capitol, earning blistering comments from disapproving friends. “All in all, I had fun,” Laurens reportedly wrote. “Lol.” Laurens was arrested in July.

Life on bond

While most of the defendants have been released on bond, they haven’t all returned to their past lives. Several have reported that their new notoriety and the conditions of their bond made it difficult to work.

Lisa Marie Eisenhart, a 58-year-old registered nurse from Woodstock, was arrested days after the riot along with her son, Nashville bartender Eric Gavelek Munchel. The pair were among the relative few who made their way into the Senate chamber, where Munchel was photographed with handfuls of plastic handcuffs, earning him the nickname “Zip-Tie Guy.”

In court filings, Eisenhart’s lawyer said she lost her hospital job after her arrest. Earlier this month, the judge in her case amended her bond conditions to allow her to work as a home healthcare nurse, a contract job.

Eric Gavelek Munchel entered the U.S. Senate during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to prosecutors.

Credit: Department of Justice

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Credit: Department of Justice

Calhoun, the Americus attorney, has had trouble with work as well, mostly getting there. Calhoun’s bond conditions required him to live with his sister at her home in Macon, but he complained the long commute to his law office in Americus was difficult and dangerous. According to his attorney, the 58-year-old Calhoun has cataracts, which make it difficult to drive at night. This month, a federal judge modified his bond to allow him to live in a house in Andersonville, closer to his office.

Former Pelham Police officer Michael Shane Daughtry, who was arrested Jan. 15 after his former police colleagues saw his Facebook posts from the riot and called the FBI, had been a licensed firearms dealer before Jan. 6. In March, Daughtry asked for permission to sell guns while awaiting trial on several misdemeanor charges. The judge said no.

Youth movement

As a group, the Jan. 6 rioters tend to be more mature — in age, at least. According to statistics kept by Georgia Washington University, the average age of a Jan. 6 rioter is 39, but several Georgians charged buck the trend.

The youngest of them is Milton resident Bruno Cua, who was 18 at the time of his arrest Feb. 6 and is believed to be the youngest person charged in the riot. He faces serious charges, including assaulting an officer and carrying a weapon, related to his breaching of the Capitol and Senate chamber. Video shows Cua carrying a baton inside building, although there is no evidence he struck anyone with it.

Nolan Harold Kidd (center) and Savannah Danielle McDonald (right) are seen in an interview with an independent journalist outside the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021. Kidd and McDonald were arrested by the FBI June 11, 2021, in connection with the insurrection.

Credit: Young Patriot Society - YouTube

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Credit: Young Patriot Society - YouTube

Nolan Harold Kidd, 21, of Crawford, and Savannah Danielle McDonald, 20, of Elberton, face charges related to their entry into the Capitol, which they later bragged about to a film crew waiting outside and later on social media. They were arrested in June. Benjamin Harry Torre, 22, of Dawsonville, allegedly got as far as the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore, in his foray into the Capitol. He was arrested soon after the riot when a tipster identified him from an FBI flier circulated online.

As the first anniversary of the riot approaches, the judicial proceedings appear likely to stretch well into 2022. The calendar for January and February already is filled with status conferences, where prosecutors will update judges on their progress turning over voluminous evidence to defendants, and lawyers will discuss possible plea deals.

It’s not over

A year later, federal authorities continue to make arrests in the investigation.

Matthew Jay Webler, a 42-year-old contractor from Decatur, was arrested in December on four misdemeanor counts related to his alleged participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. (Photo: U.S. Department of Justice)

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Last month, authorities charged Atlanta area contractor Matthew Jay Webler with multiple misdemeanors related to his alleged entry into the Capitol. Webler, who turns 43 this Jan. 6, posted selfie videos from inside the Capitol on Facebook and later defended his actions on social media. Authorities say they identified Webler from security camera footage by his distinctive cap and bright yellow jacket and a QAnon flag he wore as a cape and tracked his movements through the building using GPS signals from his cell phone.

The massive manhunt for the Jan. 6 insurgents is far from over. The FBI has appealed to the public for help in identifying hundreds of additional suspects, including more than 350 people accused of violent acts on the grounds of the Capitol.