Among the more than 700 people facing federal charges in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, 19 are from Illinois.
Of those, seven have taken plea deals. Three have been sentenced – one to 30 days in jail and two others to two years probation – and four are awaiting sentencing. The remaining 12 continue to make their way through the legal system, many with court hearings set for the coming weeks as the nation on Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the insurrection.
In court documents of nearly every case, federal prosecutors and the FBI laid out a wealth of evidence against the defendants, much of it provided by the suspects themselves via social media and communications as the attack was happening.
Here’s a look at each individual from Illinois who has been charged in connection with the Capitol riot:
Rukstales, of Inverness, was arrested during the riot after prosecutors said he threw a chair in the direction of retreating U.S. Capitol Police officers in the Capitol Crypt, then was brought down by an officer during a “melee” shortly thereafter, all captured on surveillance video. Rukstales, 53, was fired from his role as CEO of suburban data analytics firm Cogensia in the wake of his arrest. He took a plea deal in August, pleading guilty to parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building – one of four counts against him. In November, Rukstales was sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay $500 in restitution. After sentencing, he said in a statement, “I have come to realize the weight of my actions, and immensely regret following others into the Capitol.”
Lyons, of Chicago, was arrested Jan. 13 and faces six charges under a superseding indictment filed in June. Those charges include entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct as well as parading, demonstrating or picketing in a capitol building, and obstruction of an official proceeding. Prosecutors said in an affidavit that Lyons posted on Instagram on Jan. 5 a map tracing the route from Chicago to D.C., saying he was headed there to “STOP THE STEAL!” On that same account, investigators said he later posted a photo of a Speaker of the House sign within the Capitol. When shown that photo in an interview with the FBI in Chicago, prosecutors said Lyons replied, “wow you are pretty good that was up for only an hour.” Prosecutors also said that when Lyons was asked to give FBI agents a copy of videos he took, he offered to upload them to YouTube and sent links to an agent with an email that began, “Hello Nice FBI Lady, Here are links to the videos.” Lyons has pleaded not guilty to all counts and is set to appear in court on Feb. 11.
Capsel, of Marseilles, was arrested on Jan. 26 after prosecutors say two people, including a former neighbor who said Capsel was “known to be violent,” submitted tips to the FBI that included screenshots of his Facebook page showing him at the Capitol. Investigators say Capsel also posted on TikTok from the Capitol, and can be seen on video charging and fighting National Guardsmen until he is pepper sprayed. Capsel is next scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 25.
Christina and Jason Gerding, of Quincy, were arrested Jan. 28 and each charged with four counts, including entering and remaining in a restricted building and disorderly conduct, among others. Investigators say Jason Gerding posted on Twitter that he needed help to find the best hotel to stay in near the rally in D.C., as well as a photo of himself and Christina Gerding inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. Prosecutors say Christina Gerding posted that same image on Facebook with the text “Quincy made it inside.” Both Jason and Christina Gerding pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Adams, of Springfield, was arrested April 13 and charged with entering or remaining in any restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and obstruction of an official proceeding. An “Insider” article on men who stormed the Capitol identified Adams by name, saying he relayed to the reporter that he was one of the first people inside the building after trampling police barricades and entering the Senate chamber. The article quoted Adams as saying, “It was a really fun time” and describing the scene inside the Senate as “hilarious.” Adams, 40, admitted in an FBI interview to entering the Capitol and said he heard Antifa factions had possibly created the problem, court documents show. Images and video on his phone showed his forced entry into the Capitol as well as his time on the Senate floor, prosecutors say. He pleaded not guilty to all counts in June and has a status hearing in his case on Feb. 10.
Harrison and Wangler, both of the Danville area, were arrested on May 28 and charged with entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, court documents show. Prosecutors say a tipster identified Wangler as a participant in the attack and a video uncovered in the investigation showed him inside the Crypt of the Capitol. Surveillance video also showed Wangler and Harrison inside the Capitol, according to the complaint against them. Investigators said Wangler told a witness who was interviewed by the FBI, “If walking around and singing some patriotic songs is a crime then I guess I am guilty,” while Harrison told the same person that he was concerned the FBI was looking for him. In an FBI interview, Wangler and Harrison each admitted to being inside the Capitol, prosecutors say. They both took a plea deal, pleading guilty to one count of parading in a Capitol building, and were each sentenced to two years of probation and 60 hours of community service, as well as ordered to pay $500 in restitution.
Authorities say Christian Kulas and Mark Kulas, brothers from the north suburban Lake Forest area, attended the Jan. 6 rally and Capitol riot together. A tipster sent the FBI clips from Christian Kulas’ Instagram account of the events, including a clip of Christian Kulas in a distinctive hat and coat saying “storming the Capitol,” prosecutors say. Other videos obtained by the FBI showed Christian Kulas inside the Capitol in the same hat and coat. Christian Kulas was arrested on June 8, while Mark Kulas was arrested on Nov. 19, officials say. Both took a plea deal and pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building. They are set to be sentenced on March 7.
Chwiesiuk is a Chicago police officer who prosecutors say texted a friend he was going to D.C. to “save the nation.” Photo evidence included in the criminal complaint against him shows he wore a sweatshirt bearing the Chicago Police Department’s logo to the Capitol, where investigators say he sent text messages from inside as well as a photo of himself in Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office. Chwiesiuk was arrested in June and charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. He was stripped of his police powers, according to CPD, and is set to appear in court later this month.
Woods, of Auburn, was arrested on June 24 and later indicted on eight charges, including disorderly conduct, assaulting an officer, physical violence on Capitol grounds and more. Prosecutors say he owns Auburn Heating and Air and made purchases from the company account in and around D.C., as well as sent a photo of the Capitol via Facebook on Jan. 6. Two unrelated individuals – one a customer of his company and the other a person who taught at the college Woods attended – submitted tips to the FBI after identifying Woods from photos on the FBI’s website, court documents say. Prosecutors say Woods was captured on video posted to YouTube running toward a USCP officer who had been maced in a struggle with rioters, tripping her and pushing her to the ground. Authorities said Woods was also seen on another video destroying media equipment and attacking a cameraman in a similar manner. He is next scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 17.
Amy and John Schubert, of Crest Hill, were arrested on July 26 after the FBI received a tip about a YouTube video showing a woman inside the Capitol with a jacket with the logo for the “Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 422 Joliet.” A search warrant for accounts with an 815 area code geolocated at the Capitol on Jan. 6 returned six results, and one of the two female subscribers was Amy Schubert, investigators said. Photos and videos on her phone showed she and John Schubert were inside the Capitol, court documents show. Amy Schubert also sent text messages saying she was inside the Capitol, had climbed in through a window, got “into a little confrontation with Antifa” and later that she wasn’t sure they should have pictures on Facebook. The two took a plea deal and are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 17.
Gleffe, of Elk Grove Village, was arrested on Sept. 2 and charged with entering in a restricted building, disorderly conduct, as well as parading in the Capitol building, officials say. Prosecutors say the FBI received a tip that Gleffe had posted on Facebook that he would livestream the events of Jan. 6 on Parler, and posted a photo of himself at the Capitol. Cell phone data showed he was inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, investigators say, and surveillance video showed him entering the building carrying a distinctive flag with an orange handle. In an interview with the FBI, prosecutors say Gleffe said he made “the biggest mistake going through the door” and “would not do it again if I could go back.” He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has a status hearing in his case on Feb. 11.
Prosecutors say Frankowski, of Naperville, and Wiersma, of Posen, traveled to Washington, D.C., together from Illinois. They were both arrested on Sept. 21 and charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct, as well as parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, officials say. A former colleague of Wiersma’s submitted a tip to the FBI after seeing that he had posted on Facebook about entering the Capitol, court documents show. Investigators learned Wiersma had posted about the events at the Capitol on three separate Facebook accounts, prosecutors say. In one photo, authorities say he tagged Frankowski, who admitted in an FBI interview to entering the Capitol with Wiersma. Both were also captured on security footage inside the building, prosecutors say. The two have a status conference in their cases set for Feb. 18.
Ligas, of Chicago, was arrested Dec. 1 and charged with: 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; as well as parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building, according to the criminal complaint filed against him. That complaint says the FBI received a tip five days after the attack that 62-year-old Ligas was quoted by name in an NPR article in which he said, “We’re not moving on… We are not Republicans. We are the MAGA party. We are patriots.” Prosecutors also referenced a YouTube video they said showed Ligas in D.C. the night before the attack, wearing the same scarf he was seen on surveillance video wearing inside the Capitol the next day. Authorities also found on his phone multiple pictures taken inside the Capitol during the insurrection, court documents show. He’s expected to appear in court for his arraignment on Friday.
Elliott, of Aurora, was arrested on Dec. 21 and indicted on a total of six charges: civil disorder, assaulting an officer, entering a restricted building with a weapon, disorderly conduct in a restricted building with a weapon, engaging in violence in a restricted building with a weapon and engaging in an act of physical violence in the Capitol. Elliott, 24, was one of hundreds of people whose identity was sought by a loose network of amateur sleuths who continue to scour the internet to put names with videos and images of the attack, using hashtagged nicknames. They referred to him before his arrest as # AllBlackBabyThor because of his outfit and necklace and pointed to videos of him carrying a distinctive flagpole that prosecutors say he used to assault officers at the Capitol.