Southwest Virginia’s Jan. 6 insurrection cases updated

Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 5:22 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - It has been 32 months since the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the nation’s Capitol. Since then several people from our hometowns have found themselves explaining their actions that day to a Washington D.C. judge.

Two suspects from Roanoke and Troutville were arrested within the last several weeks. Three defendants are appealing their convictions. And at least two are still awaiting their day in court.

Let’s review what we know so far.

Since January 2021, nine people from southwest Virginia have been charged in connection with the insurrection.

Those arrests included former Rocky Mount Police officers Thomas Robertson and Jacob Fracker. The FBI says the two men posed for a photograph inside the Capitol during the attack and later posted about the riot on social media.

Fracker pleaded guilty and testified against his co-defendant. He was sentenced to a year of probation. In July, a judge granted Fracker a probation petition removing a requirement for community service hours which was previously part of his sentencing.

Robertson, meanwhile, fought his charges and went before a jury trial. He was found guilty of several charges and sentenced to seven years in prison. He has since appealed his conviction. In a court filing before the sentence, prosecutors said Robertson used his law enforcement training to block police officers who were trying to protect the Capitol from a mob’s attack.

Two other defendants have appealed their convictions. Markus Maly, a Fincastle man, was found guilty by a jury in December of 2022 and sentenced to six years behind bars. According to court documents, on the afternoon of Jan. 6, Maly pointed and sprayed a chemical irritant at a line of police officers working to secure the area of the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol Building.

Joshua Haynes of Covington pleaded guilty to felony charges and was sentenced to 32 months in prison. He has since been ordered to pay for damage to media gear outside the Capitol. According to the US Attorney’s Office, Haynes texted a contact following the insurrection, saying, “broke lotsa stuff.” He then sent an image with the message, “We attacked the CNN reporters and the fake news and destroyed tens of thousands of dollars of their video and television equipment.” He also texted the same person, “I want to get busted for tearing up the nations capital and the fake news.”

He is also appealing his case.

Jamie Ferguson of Lynchburg signed a plea agreement in the summer of 2022 and was sentenced to 24 months probation. In an interview with her, federal agents said Ferguson told them she went to the Capitol after former President Trump’s rally, believing she’d see the president again. She was spotted in surveillance video wearing a sweatshirt that said, in part, “Yes I am a Trump Girl.”

Jeremy Groseclose of Elliston has been awaiting his day in court for a while. FBI agents say surveillance video shows Groseclose helping to open a roll-up door police were using to try to keep rioters out of the Capitol. His trial date has been pushed back several times. His attorney has told the court she has other cases taking up time she needs to spend on Groseclose’s case. Groseclose recently filed several motions in court, including one to drop several of his charges and another to dismiss his superseding indictment altogether. His trial is currently scheduled for November 13, 2023.

Casey Tryon-Castro of Roanoke was arrested in January of this year, facing several felony and misdemeanor charges. According to a criminal complaint, Tryon-Castro told officers during a 2021 interview that she yelled at the crowd to “push!” while she was in the tunnel. She is accused of stealing a riot shield from an officer. During a status check in the D.C Circuit Court Monday, the trial date for Tryon-Castro and several co-defendants was pushed back from December to May of 2024.

The most recent arrests came at the end of August, when the Department of Justice announced the arrests of Peter Willey of Roanoke and Ethan Mauck of Troutville, who was originally incorrectly identified as being from Pennsylvania. According to the US Attorney’s Office, both men are accused of using bike racks and signs to push against police officers. They are due to appear before a D.C. judge virtually later this week.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department says in the 32 months since the Capitol attack, more than 1,146 defendants from nearly all 50 states have been charged in D.C.

Investigators are still searching for about 100 more people.