Two Capitol rioters from Pennsylvania who pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges including conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding and assaulting law enforcement were both sentenced last week to 41 months in prison, which is a little under three and a half years each.
The duo, Marshall Neefe and Charles Bradford Smith, who are both in their 20s, vocally planned for heading to D.C. — and more specifically the prospect of violent confrontation — in the lead-up to January 6, and after the riot, in which the two participated in pushing a metal Trump sign that was at least eight feet tall into a line of police officers outside the building, they shared desires for even more violence and frustration that even more chaos hadn’t already unfolded. Neefe told Smith in an early November 2020 message he was “getting ready to storm D.C.”
After the riot, it continued — he said he was “bringing a gun next time” and expressed a fantasy of the murder of police who confronted members of the riot crowd with batons and mace. Smith, meanwhile, connected his plans to an infamous post on Twitter from Trump in which the then-president admonished his followers regarding January 6: “Be there, will be wild!” Smith was listening. “The call to action was put out to be in DC on January 6th from the Don himself,” he told Neefe. In a follow-up message, Smith said he was “100%” going.
After the riot, Smith also stuck by it, calling what happened at the Capitol “an Unbelievable show of force” that “did its job.” Smith also explicitly talked before the riot about the prospect of storming buildings in D.C. “If it’s big enough we should all just storm the buildings,” Smith told Neefe, referring to the gathering of Trump supporters in D.C. planned for January 6 targeting Congress. Eventually, Neefe carried a wooden club which he previously called “The Commie Knocker” during his participation in the Capitol riot. Smith and Neefe evidently imagined the possibility of confronting anti-Trump forces in D.C. on January 6. In weeks prior, Smith specifically stated the planned demonstrations were “literally to save the city from chaos while they do their thing in the capital.” There was ultimately no involvement by Black Lives Matter, antifa, or any other liberal or left-leaning protest movement in the violence.
Neefe and Smith are among numerous rioters who left copious digital trails for prosecutors and investigators, documenting their violent ambitions in rather explicit and direct terms that memorialized their intentions.