North Carolina Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Defendant Entered Capitol Window, Made Way to House Speaker’s Office
(STL.News) A North Carolina man pleaded guilty today to a felony charge for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His and others’ actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Matthew Mark Wood, 25, of Reidsville, North Carolina, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to a felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding and five related misdemeanor offenses. According to court documents, on Jan. 2, 2021, three days before he traveled to Washington, Wood sent an iMessage to another individual in which he stated, “If they want to raid Congress, sign me up, I’ll be brave heart in that bitch!”
On Jan. 6, Wood illegally made his way to the West Plaza of the Capitol soon after the breach of a police line meant to secure the restricted grounds. Wood remained in the West Plaza for about an hour before climbing stairs to the Northwest Plaza. He was several feet behind those who broke out and climbed through the Capitol’s window next to the Senate Wing Door. He was the 10th person to enter through that window, getting inside at approximately 2:13 p.m.
Once inside, Wood and other rioters made their way to the hallway immediately outside the Senate Chamber. Once stopped in their advance by law enforcement there, Wood returned to the first floor and joined a growing group of rioters in the Capitol Crypt. At approximately 2:24 p.m., he sent an iMessage to a group chat, declaring, “We just broke through Capitol police, we are going to bust into the house chambers.”
Wood subsequently followed others through the Small House Rotunda, up a staircase, and into the House Speaker’s office suite. While in that area, he entered at least three offices or other sensitive spaces, including the Speaker’s conference room. He then moved to the Rotunda and other areas of the Capitol, removing the ropes from stanchions he passed, calling protesters to follow, and staying in the building despite clouds of chemical irritant. When the Metropolitan Police Department arrived to assist the Capitol Police in clearing rioters from the Rotunda, Wood and other rioters did not immediately leave. It was not until approximately 3:31 p.m. that Wood finally left the Capitol through the East Rotunda Door.
Wood was arrested on March 5, 2021, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is to be sentenced on Sept. 23, 2022. He faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the obstruction charge and a total of 3 ½ years of additional time and additional fines for the five misdemeanor offenses. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The 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 North Carolina.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Wood as #71 on its seeking information photos, and the FBI’s Charlotte Field Office Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 16 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 800 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 250 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.