Pole-Wielding Capitol Rioter Charged After 3 Friends Turn Her In

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A woman who participated in last year’s Capitol riot, where she swung a wooden pole with metal attachments at a door to the House of Representatives, was hit in recent days with a variety of federal criminal charges after agents obtained information from three of her friends.

The newly arrested riot participant is 49-year-old Dova Alina Winegeart, who’s from Oklahoma. One of her charges — destruction of government property — is apparently a felony offense because the amount of the damage she was involved in inflicting surpassed $1,000. As for the case authorities originally built against her, two of Winegeart’s friends got in touch with federal investigators, to whom they gave images showing her at the Capitol on January 6. A third individual identified as another friend of Winegeart provided investigators with both images and text messages. “It’s our building. Not the governments. We are their bosses but get treated like dogs. I’m done with this government. It’s fight time non stop now. They asked for it,” Winegeart told the friend in the texts.

In other words, it sounds as though Winegeart rather explicitly laid out her intentions for going to the Capitol last year, and now, those de facto confessions are part of a federal criminal case against her. It remains remarkable that anyone could seriously think they could just go to the Capitol and swing a wooden pole at a door leading to the House of Representatives because they felt like it. What did she think was going to happen? In what universe is that course of action acceptable? The kind of language she used suggests she viewed what was going on as some kind of low-stakes video game rather than a matter of national security. These rampaging Trump supporters were swiftly required to face reality after their fantasy of themselves as valiant patriots met federal criminal charges that could lead to potentially substantial stints in jail.

Winegeart — and her husband Terry, who was in D.C. with her around the time of the Capitol riot but hasn’t faced charges — were interviewed in November of last year by federal investigators. On January 4 of last year — days before the riot, Dova spoke on Facebook of plans to travel to the capital: “Terry & I will be wearing body cams. We will show you the truth about what is happening in DC.” Winegeart has been released from custody on $5,000 bond as her case proceeds. In originally putting together their case against her, federal authorities also used security footage and other images captured on the day of the riot, in addition to what was provided by Winegeart’s friends. The charge of destruction of government property alone apparently comes with a sentence of up to 10 years since the damage was assessed at over $1,000.

The first rioter convicted at trial — Texas man Guy Reffitt — will be sentenced on August 1. Federal prosecutors asked a judge for 15 years in prison, arguing Reffitt’s actions should be considered terrorist in nature. He had equipment including a gun and plastic hand-cuffs in D.C., where he was evidently prepared to take hostages. Besides his original actions at the Capitol, Reffitt was also charged for and found guilty of threatening members of his family in an attempt to keep them quiet about his involvement. Dozens of other rioters have accepted plea deals.

Image: Brett Davis/Creative Commons