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Covington father and son post bond after arrest for Jan. 6 US Capitol riot

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Covington father and son post bond after arrest for Jan. 6 US Capitol riot

Dec 01, 2023 | 5:37 pm ET
By Greg LaRose
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Covington father and son post bond after arrest for Jan. 6 US Capitol riot
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Father and son Willard Purkel (circled in red) and Colby Purkel (circled in green) are pictured entering the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., with other rioters on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia)

NEW ORLEANS — The Covington men arrested for taking part in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol made their first court appearance Friday and posted bonds for their release while awaiting trial.

Father and son Willard Purkel Jr., 51, and Colby Purkel, 27, appeared via videoconference before Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Both men were arrested Thursday in Louisiana and charged felony civil disorder and multiple misdemeanor charges.

Willard Purkel posted a bond of $50,000, and Colby Purkel posted $5,000. The court will appoint an attorney for the younger Purkel, while his father plans to hire his own lawyer, according to WVUE-TV Fox 8.  Both men face a maximum of eight years in prison if convicted.

Court documents indicate the Purkels joined a crowd of rioters who forcibly entered the Capitol through its East Rotunda doors, pushing police who tried to close the entrance. They allegedly forced their way into the lobby outside the Rotunda and joined others to acess the Rotunda itself.

Investigators subpoenaed the Purkels’ cellphone data to track their movements through the Capitol, according to a statement of facts accompanying their warrant.

The Purkels were escorted along with other protestors outside of the Capitol building but remained on the Capitol grounds after being ordered to leave, the court documents said. While outside, Willard Purkel allegedly climbed atop an armored truck before he and his son walked to the west side of the building. They and other rioters remained on the grounds while police tried to clear the area, authorities claim.

Misdemeanor charges against the Purkels include entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

As a condition of their bail, the Purkels are required to relinquish any firearms they own. The men told the magistrate judge they turned over their guns to relatives and won’t have access them, Fox 8 reports.

The Purkles’ next court day is set for Friday, Dec. 8, and will again take place via teleconference.