District Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Second Degree Murder While Armed in 2020 Shooting on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
Defendant Was Among First in Mob to Enter Capitol Building
WASHINGTON – An Alabama man was sentenced in the District of Columbia of felony charges for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election
William Watson, 25, of Auburn, Alabama, was sentenced yesterday to 36 months in prison for obstruction of an official proceeding and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon. Watson was found guilty at a stipulated trial in November 2022. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton ordered 36 months of supervised release.
According to the facts presented in court, on Jan. 6, 2021, Watson joined the mob of rioters illegally on the West Plaza area of Capitol grounds. He carried a knife with him on his waistband, which he used to tear down cloth around the inauguration scaffolding so that the crowd could move further up the steps toward the Capitol Building. Just after 2 p.m., the police line was overrun by rioters. He also obtained a cannister of OC spray while at the Capitol, which he pointed threateningly at officers.
Watson was among the first rioters through the Senate Wing Door; he helped smash out a window adjacent to the Senate Wing Door before crawling through it at 2:13 p.m. Watson eventually arrived in the Ohio Clock Corridor near the Senate Chambers, where he and other rioters confronted several officers. Officers eventually escorted Watson and others out of the building. Shortly after the events of January 6, Watson created a Snapchat story with a photo of himself and others in the Ohio Clock Corridor. Among other things, the caption stated, “The fake news won’t win against the thousands of patriots recorded today.”
Watson was arrested on May 4, 2021, in Alabama.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Mobile Field Office and its Auburn Resident Agency, and the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Watson as #22 on its seeking information photos. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 26 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 999 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 320 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.