Federal judge dismisses Missouri gun dealer’s Capitol riot case for lack of speedy trial

A federal court has dismissed the case of a central Missouri firearms dealer charged in connection with the Capitol riot, finding that the government took too long to prosecute him.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Wednesday granted Matthew Loganbill’s motion to dismiss the case for violating his right to a speedy trial. Jackson also terminated Loganbill’s pre-trial release conditions, which included prohibiting him from having firearms in his residence.

The hearing was held via video conference in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Loganbill, of Versailles, is the first of the 32 Missouri Capitol riot defendants to have a case dismissed.

In the July 10 motion to dismiss the charges, Loganbill’s public defender said that “this case seems to have slipped through the cracks, underscoring that Mr. Loganbill’s alleged offenses are not so serious that the Department of Justice identified a pressing need to prosecute him.”

“To the contrary, the docket shows that the government has done little to advance this case to trial and instead dangled the possibility of a favorable resolution for two years,” the motion said. “Finally, excusing the government’s neglect while Mr. Loganbill has been under conditions of release for over two years would undermine the fair administration of justice.”

Loganbill was indicted in September 2021 on one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, a felony, and four misdemeanors: entering and remaining in a restricted building; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

Loganbill agreed to delay a speedy trial for a limited period “because the government gave defense counsel the impression that doing so would likely result in a favorable disposition,” his motion said. But since then, it said, “the government has failed to bring Mr. Loganbill to trial within the seventy days permitted by the Speedy Trial Act, even when factoring in exclusions of time permitted by the Act.”

The government opposed Loganbill’s motion, disputing his calculation of the number of days that had elapsed in his case and noting that the felony charge against him carried a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

“Every charge against Loganbill arose in the context of a prolonged and violent riot occurring to stop the peaceful transfer of power following a presidential election,” the government argued. “Loganbill himself went to the Capitol dressed for battle. His offenses could not have been more serious. That Loganbill is not alleged to have acted with violence does not change the serious nature of the offenses, contrary to the contentions in his motion.”

Jackson dismissed the case without prejudice, which means it can be filed again. Loganbill had requested it be dismissed with prejudice, preventing it from being refiled.

Authorities first became aware of Loganbill when two people contacted the FBI’s tip line and said they saw posts on social media indicating that he had participated in the Capitol riot, according to an affidavit filed with his original charges.

When contacted, one of the tipsters described Loganbill “as a ‘hot head’ who had grown bitter over the last year because of the negative financial impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the affidavit said. The tipster also told the FBI that Loganbill “was extremely immersed in the paramilitary lifestyle, viewed himself as a patriot, and likely felt his actions at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, were justified,” according to the affidavit.

When FBI agents interviewed Loganbill on Jan. 13, 2021, in Versailles, the document said, he admitted to traveling to Washington, D.C., to attend the “Stop the Steal” pro-Trump rally. He told agents that “he traveled by vehicle with like minded individuals whom he declined to identify.”

Loganbill told the FBI that he was not aware of any plot to storm the Capitol and said he was accompanied by protesters who were retired military veterans, the affidavit said. Loganbill told agents that he saw protesters fighting with police and then breach the police line. He said police then fired tear gas canisters into the crowd, but protesters continued to surge toward them.

“Loganbill stated that he then ducked behind a storage container and donned a gas mask and helmet that he had brought with him,” the affidavit said. “He claimed he had brought these items to the protest because he was fearful that Antifa would infiltrate the rally/protest.”

Loganbill said after he emerged from behind the storage container, the police line and barricades were gone and he followed protesters into the Capitol building.

He told the FBI that he did not see any signs and no one told him he was entering a restricted area, the affidavit said. He also claimed that police did not tell them to leave and he saw no violence between protesters and police.

“Loganbill also stated he briefly spoke with one of the officers at the U.S. Capitol and told the officer ‘we came peacefully this time,’ but that ‘it would be different if we have to come again,’ or words to that effect,” the affidavit said.

The affidavit also said that on Dec. 16, 2020, Loganbill sent Facebook comments directed to two members of the U.S. Senate, telling them that “the American people are becoming desperate for truth and morality.”

“Politicians who don’t represent that and act for the hearts of the true Americans will be held accountable. Complacency is not an option.”