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Press Release

Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Assaulted Law Enforcement with Large Wooden Stick

            WASHINGTON – A Virginia man pleaded guilty today to a felony charge 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.

            Jonathan G. Mellis, 35, of Williamsburg, Virginia, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon, a felony offense. U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss scheduled a sentencing hearing for Sept. 13, 2023.

            According to court documents, during the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, uniformed members of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD) arrived at the scene to assist U.S. Capitol Police in restoring order. Body-worn camera footage from MPD officers reviewed after the incident show an individual later identified as Mellis, along with others, using sticks and other items as weapons to assault law enforcement officers protecting an entrance to the Capitol.

            Court documents state that Mellis unlawfully entered the Capitol grounds. While there, Mellis recorded and posted videos to Instagram in which he stated, “We ain’t f****** leaving either! We ain’t f****** leaving!” and “So you ever wonder where they do the inaugurations? I beat Joe Biden here. That mother****** will never come up here. We’re banging on the goddamn doors, is what we’re doing. Storming the f****** castle.”

            Court records state that other video footage of the incident reviewed show Mellis repeatedly striking and making stabbing motions towards the officers with the large wooden stick in hand. Mellis can also be seen attempting to strike at the officers’ necks, between their helmets and body armor.

            Mellis was later identified due to tips received from the public and his public social media profiles. Law enforcement officers reviewed Mellis’ public social media profiles and observed photos posted that matched his description in the video footage. In one social media post, Mellis wrote, “Storming the Castle. The world heard us!!! Finally not ignored. (Antifa and BLM will burn your city down for Marxism. We storm THE SWAMP for FREEDOM. We want a forensic audit of the vote. Simple. We will not go away. We will not surrender.”

            The charge of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, as well as financial penalties.  A federal district court judge will determine an appropriate sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

            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 Eastern District of Virginia.

            This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington and Norfolk Field Offices, with valuable assistance provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.

            In the 29 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,000 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including nearly 350 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

Updated June 12, 2023

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 23-318