A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced Lewis Easton Cantwell, 36, to five months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Cantwell, of Waynesville, is one of 21 people from North Carolina arrested in connection to the attack. A mob of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol as Congress met to certify the results of the presidential election. Federal prosecutors have charged more than 900 people in the attack, including more than 275 accused of assaulting police.
“At times, Cantwell can be seen participating in the mob rocking back and forth while others chanted ‘heave ho’ as they pushed against police,” the Department of Justice said. “He also helped propel a flagpole toward the Lower West Terrace tunnel, where a variety of objects were used to assault police.”
The FBI said Cantwell recorded videos of himself in the Capitol.
“During one of the recordings, when watching rioters battle with law enforcement officers near an entrance, Cantwell yelled for the rioters to ‘get the door open.’ At another point, Cantwell yelled that they needed ‘fresh patriots to the front,’” according to Cantwell’s statement filed with his guilty plea.
Cantwell is the latest in a string of sentences for people who pleaded guilty for participating in the violence. Another North Carolina man, Matthew Wood, of Winston-Salem, pleaded guilty and was sentenced last week, though he was spared prison time.
A judge sentenced Wood on Nov. 28 to three years of supervised release, including a year of home detention, 100 hours of community service, and ordered him to pay restitution of $2,000.
The biggest win recently for the Justice Department was the guilty verdict last week for leaders of the Oath Keepers militia. A jury found two guilty of seditious conspiracy, which could lead to decades in prison. Four other militia members were convicted on other felonies.
Laura Steele, a former police officer from Kernersville, North Carolina, is also accused of being part of the Oath Keepers militia that invaded the Capitol. She said she only joined the group in the days before Jan. 6, according to the FBI. A trial date has not yet been set for Steele.
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack plans to make criminal referrals to the DOJ, committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. Those referrals would likely go beyond the hundreds of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol, potentially all the way up to former President Donald Trump.
It would be up to the DOJ to decide whether or not to take up the cases and pursue criminal charges. But in the meantime, the department is still working through hundreds of cases of people accused of taking part in the attack that day.
Here is where the 21 cases in North Carolina stand today:
Stephen Baker, Garner
Investigators say Baker live-streamed from inside the Capitol during the attack under the name Stephen Ignoramus. He was in the Capitol for more than an hour, according to court filings.
Baker is charged with unlawful entry in a restricted building or grounds; violent entry and disorderly conduct in a capitol building; parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.
He was arrested on Feb. 1, 2021 and pleaded guilty a year later. A federal judge in May sentenced Baker to two years of probation and 9 days (3 consecutive weekends) of intermittent confinement and $500 restitution.
Matthew Beddingfield, Smithfield
Beddingfield is accused of some of the most serious charges in connection with the Jan. 6 attack. The FBI said the 21-year-old man assaulted police officers with a metal flagpole on his way into the Capitol and again attacked police once he was inside.
Federal agents arrested Beddingfield in Johnston County on Feb. 8. Court records show he was released on a personal recognizance bond March 17, but is essentially under house arrest at his grandfather’s home. The court said he is not allowed to have access to the internet or a smartphone while he awaits trial.
Bradley Bennett, Charlotte
Bennett, who is from the Charlotte area, faces charges for obstructing an official proceeding, parading on Capitol grounds without a permit and other low-level offenses. The FBI said he participated in the attack with his then-girlfriend Elizabeth Williams.
The pair were identified by people who knew them and saw their faces connected to the search for the Jan. 6 attackers. Other FBI informants shared social media posts and text messages from them connecting the couple to being in the Capitol Jan. 6.
Federal agents arrested Bennett in April 2021, and he pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is currently released on bond.
Aiden Bilyard, Raleigh
Bilyard faces some of the most serious charges, including using a “deadly or dangerous weapon." The FBI says Bilyard sprayed a line of police officers with a can of “bear spray,” similar to mace.
According to the FBI, Bilyard used a baseball bat to break a window into the Capitol. Then he and a number of others crawled through the window and into the building, the FBI said.
In online circles who were trying to track down people caught on video in the Capitol riot, Bilyard became known as “#HarvardSweats” because of his distinctive Harvard sweatshirt, according to an FBI affidavit.
Federal agents arrested Bilyard in November 2021. He pleaded guilty in October to one count of assaulting police and will be sentenced on Feb. 2. He could face a lengthy prison term.
Lewis Cantwell, Waynesville
A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced Cantwell to five months in prison. Cantwell pleaded guilty to a single count of obstructing, impeding, or interfering with law enforcement officers.
“Cantwell can be seen participating in the mob rocking back and forth while others chanted ‘heave ho’ as they pushed against police,” the DOJ said.
Cantwell was arrested on Feb. 18, 2021 and charged with six counts. He pleaded guilty in March.
Charles Donohoe, Kernersville
Court filings say Donohoe is a member of the right-wing Proud Boys and accuse him of conspiring with other members of the group to stop the certification of the election on Jan. 6.
Donohoe is charged with three other men, all members of the Proud Boys, according to the indictment. He was arrested March 17, 2021, and court records show he has been held in jail since his arrest.
He pleaded guilty to assaulting police and conspiring to attack the Capitol. Donohoe could face up to 20 years in prison for assaulting an officer and up to 30 years for conspiracy, according to court records.
“As part of the plea agreement, Donohoe has agreed to cooperate with the government’s ongoing investigation,” according to the DOJ. Court records do not show a date for sentencing on Donohoe’s guilty plea.
Edward George, Fayetteville
George and another co-defendant are accused of assaulting, resisting or impeding police and stealing an American flag and flagpole from inside the Capitol building during the Jan. 6 attack, according to court records.
He is charged with nine counts, including civil disorder; assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; and theft of government property, aiding and abetting.
George was arrested July 15. He is free on personal recognizance. His next court appearance is set for February.
David Gietzen, Sanford
Gietzen is seen in footage from the Capitol attack pushing and fighting with police officers at a barricade, according to an FBI affidavit. He’s seen wearing a white helmet, green jacket and knee pads, court filings state.
As the attack continued, Gietzen began swinging at police with a large metal pole, hitting at least one. He’s then seen at the front of the crowd trying to push into a tunnel, attacking police who were protecting an entrance to the building, according to the affidavit.
The FBI said they identified Gietzen when someone saw a photo of him at the Jan. 6 attack and called the Justice Department tip line.
Geitzen was arrested in May on eight counts, including assaulting police with a dangerous weapon. He was released on bond about a week after his arrest.
James Grant, Cary
Grant faces charges of assaulting police during the attack on the Capitol. The FBI says video shows Grant and others picking up a metal barricade and shoving an officer.
He made his way inside the Capitol, the FBI said. A search warrant for Grant’s phone found photos of him inside a Senate office, according to court filings.
Grant is charged with nine counts, including assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon or inflicting bodily injury.
He was originally arrested in October and then charged in a new indictment in December. He has been jailed in Virginia since his arrest.
Johnny Harris, Shelby
Harris, carrying a flag and wearing an American flag shirt, was seen on video walking through the Capitol, according to the FBI. Agents say he shared photos of himself on Facebook from inside the building. He admitted to being in the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack, according to the Justice Department.
He is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on capitol grounds; engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct on the capitol buildings or grounds; parading, demonstrating or picketing in the capitol buildings.
He was arrested on March 18, 2021, and pleaded not guilty to all counts. He is free on personal recognizance and has a trial date set for February 28.
Stephen Horn, Raleigh
A photograph shared by The New York Times magazine shows Horn in the Capitol, dressed in a black jacket and wearing a black helmet as he stands on top of a monument, according to the FBI. That photograph led people who knew Horn to identify him to the FBI.
In a Facebook post, Horn wrote, “I did not enter the capitol building as part of the protest, or for cheap thrills, but to accurately document and record a significant event which was taking place,” according to court filings. He repeated his story that he was at the Capitol as a journalist in two separate interviews with Spectrum News 1.
Horn admitted to FBI agents that he was in the Capitol and was the man in the photo on top of the monument, according to an affidavit. He faces four charges for entering the Capitol that day.
He was arrested on April 9, 2021, and pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is free on personal recognizance.
James Little, Claremont
Talking to federal agents, Little admitted to entering the Capitol and spent his time inside walking around and “smiling and fist bumping other people who were also inside the Capitol,” according to an FBI affidavit.
The FBI said they tracked Little down after someone said he texted them from inside the Capitol during the attack.
He was arrested in March 2021. He pleaded guilty a year later to one charge of “parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building” and was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of probation. He also agreed to pay $500 in restitution.
James Mault, Fort Bragg
Federal agents arrested Mault at Fort Bragg in October, accusing him of assaulting police during the attack on the Capitol. Mault pepper sprayed officers who were trying to keep the mob from getting in the building, according to the FBI.
Mault enlisted in the Army after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to the Justice Department.
He pleaded guilty in April to assaulting police. A judge sentenced him in July to more than 3-and-a-half years in prison, three years’ supervised release and ordered him to pay $2,000 in restitution.
Benjamin Robinson, Matthews
Robinson and three members of his family are charged with four counts after, the FBI said, they all entered the Capitol during the attack. The other members of the family charged in the attack are from Indian Land, South Carolina, a Charlotte suburb just over the stateline.
“The Robinsons were among the people closest to the internal doorway to the House. Officers attempting to protect the Speaker’s Lobby Door were forced to retreat by the escalating violence from the crowd,” an FBI affidavit states.
They were nearby when police shot and killed Ashli Babbitt as she tried to go through a broken window to the Speaker’s Lobby, the FBI said.
After the shooting, Robinson and his family members left the Capitol, court records state.
Robinson was arrested in May. He has since been released on personal recognizance.
Anthony Scirica, Winston-Salem
A Snapchat account linked to Scirica shared images from inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to the FBI.
He was also seen in a report on "Inside Edition" walking through the Capitol during the attack, court records say.
Scirica was arrested on June 16 and pleaded guilty to one count. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail and ordered to pay a $500 fine and $500 for restitution.
Grayson Sherrill, Cherryville
An FBI wanted poster showed Sherrill inside the Capitol wearing a red “Make America Great Again” sweatshirt and carrying some sort of stick or pole, according to federal court records.
Two family members recognized Sherrill and called the FBI, according to an affidavit.
Sherrill was originally arrested in March 2021. New charges filed in December accuse him of assaulting a police officer with a metal pole. He has been released on personal recognizance.
His case was originally set to go to trial in January, but that was canceled and a new trial date has not been set.
Christopher Spencer, Winston-Salem
Spencer and his wife, Virginia “Jenny” Spencer, are charged together with five counts, including obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; and disorderly conduct in a capitol building. Virginia Spencer has since pleaded guilty.
According to the FBI, Christopher Spencer streamed video live from inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack. The video shows him chanting “stop the steal” with the crowd in the Crypt, in the center of the Capitol building
Christopher Spencer was arrested on Jan. 19 and pleaded not guilty to all counts. He was released on personal recognizance. A trial date has not been set.
Virginia Spencer, Durham
Virginia “Jenny” Spencer was arrested after her husband, Christopher Spencer. She admitted to investigators that she and her husband were inside the Capitol during the attack, according to an FBI affidavit.
The two are seen on cameras in the Capitol walking through the Statuary Hall. Christopher Spencer streamed video of their time in the Capitol on Facebook Live.
Agents arrested Virginia Spencer on Feb. 8. In September, she agreed to plead guilty to one court of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. A judge sentenced her to 90 days in jail and three years of probation.
“This was not a peaceful gathering for protest,” District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said during the sentencing hearing in January. “She joined the insurrection.”
“My question, which I still have, is whether she’s accepted responsibility as to the significance of what she participated in, an insurrection, not just a protest,” the judge said.
Laura Steele, Kernersville
Steele is accused of being part of the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia that wore military-style uniforms to the protest and attack on the Capitol. She is charged with 16 others accused of being part of the militia.
Last month a jury found two Oath Keepers guilty of seditious conspiracy and three others guilty of related felonies during the Jan. 6 attack. Steele was not part of that trial.
According to the FBI, Steele applied to join the group in the days before Jan. 6. In her application for membership, she listed her past work as a police officer in North Carolina.
Steele is charged with conspiracy; obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; destruction of government property and aiding and abetting; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; tampering with documents or proceedings.
She pleaded not guilty to all counts and is free on personal recognizance. A jury trial is set for February.
Tara Stottlemyer, Conover
The FBI accused Stottlemyer of joining the mob that attacked the Capitol and entering into the building without permission. She faces six charges from the attack.
Federal agents arrested Stottlemyer on Sept. 14, 2021. She pleaded guilty in October to one count of obstructing an official proceeding. She has not yet been sentenced.
Matthew Wood, Winston-Salem
Wood admitted to the FBI that he entered the Capitol and went into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, according to court records.
He shared photos of himself on Facebook inside the Capitol and defended his actions, saying, “Our election was stolen. The system is against us. I stood up to our tyrannical government.”
One photo shows Wood standing in the Capitol Rotunda carrying a large Trump flag.
He pleaded guilty in May to several counts. On Nov. 28, a federal judge sentenced Wood to “to three years of probation, including 12 months of home detention, 100 hours of community service,” and ordered him to pay $2,000 in restitution.