In a recent court decision, two cousins were found guilty of eleven felony charges, including assault with a dangerous weapon, in relation to their involvement in the Capitol breach on January 6, 2021. The disruption caused by their actions, along with others, impacted the joint session of the U.S. Congress that was convened to count the electoral votes for the presidential election. Thomas Harlen Smith, hailing from Mississippi, was convicted of nine felony counts and two misdemeanors, while Donnie Duane Wren from Alabama was found guilty of two felonies and one misdemeanor. The cousins traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend a rally held by former President Trump and actively engaged in the breach, assaulting officers and causing physical violence. Sentencing for both individuals is scheduled for August 17, 2023. This article highlights the charges and actions of the two cousins, underscoring the consequences of their participation in the breach.
On January 6, 2021, a historic event took place at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. The Capitol breach, also known as the Capitol riot, occurred when a joint session of the U.S. Congress was disrupted. The purpose of this joint session was to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election. The breach was marked by the unlawful entry into the Capitol building by a group of individuals, leading to widespread chaos and violence.
Charges and Convictions
In connection with the Capitol breach, two individuals, Thomas Harlen Smith and Donnie Duane Wren, have been charged and convicted of multiple felonies and misdemeanors.
Thomas Harlen Smith, a 44-year-old resident of Mathiston, Mississippi, was found guilty of 11 charges, including nine felony counts and two misdemeanors. These charges were brought against him following a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton. Smith’s sentencing has been scheduled for August 17, 2023.
Donnie Duane Wren, a 44-year-old resident of Athens, Alabama, was found guilty of three charges, consisting of two felony counts and one misdemeanor. Like Smith, Wren is set to be sentenced on August 17, 2023, before U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton.
Actions During Capitol Breach
Smith and Wren traveled from their respective states to Washington, D.C., to attend a rally held by former President Trump. Upon reaching the Capitol grounds, Smith proceeded to enter the Tunnel and attempted to break a window using a flagpole. He then pushed his way into the Capitol. On the Upper West Terrace, both Smith and Wren pushed against a police line, holding them back for approximately twenty seconds. Smith escalated the situation by kicking an officer to the ground and throwing a metal pole, which struck another officer in the head. After leaving the Capitol grounds, Smith took to Facebook to proudly declare, “we stormed the capitol.”
Smith’s charges, which include assault with a dangerous weapon and obstruction of an official proceeding, carry a statutory maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Wren, on the other hand, faces a maximum sentence of up to 8 years in prison for his assault charge. The final determination of the appropriate sentences for both individuals will be made by a federal court judge, taking into account all relevant factors and the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
Prosecution and Investigation
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, along with the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, is responsible for prosecuting the case against Smith and Wren. In addition to their efforts, valuable assistance has been provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern District of Mississippi, the Northern District of Alabama, and the Southern District of Florida.
The investigation into the Capitol breach has been conducted by the FBI’s Washington and Birmingham Field Offices, as well as the Homestead Florida and Oxford Mississippi Resident Agencies. These agencies have played a vital role in identifying and apprehending the individuals involved in the breach. Furthermore, the U.S. Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police Department, and Prince George’s County Police Department have provided crucial assistance throughout the investigation.
Since the events of January 6, 2021, more than 1,000 individuals have been arrested across nearly all 50 states in connection with the breach of the U.S. Capitol. Of these arrests, over 320 have been individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing, as law enforcement agencies continue their efforts to identify and apprehend those responsible for the violence and destruction that occurred on that day.
If you have any information or tips regarding the Capitol breach or the individuals involved, you can report it to the FBI’s tips hotline. The hotline can be reached at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), or you can submit tips online at tips.fbi.gov. Your information could play a crucial role in bringing those responsible to justice.
In conclusion, the Capitol breach on January 6, 2021, was a significant event that disrupted the joint session of the U.S. Congress. The subsequent charges and convictions of individuals like Thomas Harlen Smith and Donnie Duane Wren highlight the serious criminal consequences associated with such actions. The investigation and prosecution of these individuals serve as a reminder that acts of violence and obstruction against law enforcement and government institutions will not be tolerated. The ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies to identify and apprehend individuals involved in the breach demonstrate their commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring accountability for those responsible.