Missouri man is 33rd from state charged in Capitol riot — the eighth since June

Federal authorities have arrested a southwest Missouri man on felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with the Capitol riot.

Joseph Kerry Hicks, 49, of Willard, is charged in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia with obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, a felony; and misdemeanor offenses of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

He was arrested Friday in Ozark, Missouri, according to court documents, and had his initial court appearance Monday in the Western District of Missouri.

Hicks, who had been labeled BOLO (Be on the Lookout) #92 by the FBI on its website seeking information about Jan. 6 suspects, is the 33rd Missouri resident to be charged in connection with the Capitol riot. Eight of those defendants have been charged since mid-June.

The FBI tracked Hicks down after a search warrant served on Google showed that a cellphone with a number associated with his Gmail account was in the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Two FBI agents interviewed Hicks at his job in Springfield on June 14, 2021, the affidavit said. During the interview, which was secretly recorded, Hicks admitted going into the building.

“Hicks stated it was an error in judgment,” the affidavit said.

Hicks told the agents he was wearing a face mask, red sweatshirt, a hat and a hoodie, the document said. He said he was let into the building by people at the door and that he did not assault any law enforcement officers or damage property.

Hicks declined to provide information on who else traveled with him, the document said. It said that on Jan. 5, 2021, a Facebook user named J.C. posted a photo with the words, “Left to Washington DC at 8:00 pm tonight! Woo-hoo!!!!! God, Please be with us!”

J.C. was from the same general area in Missouri as Hicks, the affidavit said, and Hicks was believed to be one of those in the photo.

U.S. Capitol surveillance footage showed Hicks entering the Rotunda Doors of the Capitol about 2:41 p.m. on Jan. 6, the affidavit said, minutes after those doors had been breached.

Hicks was seen on the video walking around the Rotunda for several minutes, it said, unfurling and waving a flag and talking to and fist-bumping other rioters. About 2:46 p.m., he exited the south side of the Rotunda and entered Statuary Hall, where he remained for less than a minute before heading back to the Rotunda, the affidavit said.

Prosecutors say Joseph Kerry Hicks pushed an officer with his back while gripping a flag inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Prosecutors say Joseph Kerry Hicks pushed an officer with his back while gripping a flag inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Hicks also was seen on video obtained from another defendant carrying what looked like a black flag on a white flagpole.

“The flag appears to depict a skull with a stars-and-stripes pattern,” the affidavit said. “The flag states in white lettering at the bottom, ‘We Are Everywhere.’ As depicted in other images of Hicks from January 6, 2021, the flag also appears to contain the word ‘III%’ in one of the eye sockets of the skull.”

The III% symbol is associated with the “Three Percenters” movement, “which postures itself as citizens standing against a tyrannical government,” the affidavit said.

“At this time, the FBI has not identified Hicks as having ties to any Three Percenter group,” it said.

The Capitol security footage showed Hicks walking around the Rotunda with his flag for several minutes, the document said. About 2:49 p.m., it said, Hicks left the Rotunda, then returned about a minute later, appearing to film the scene with his phone.

Security footage showed Hicks work his way toward the exit at about 2:54 p.m. But two minutes later, it said, he turned around and went back. He exited the Capitol around 2:58 p.m., but tried to re-enter about 3:29 p.m. as officers struggled to keep rioters out, the document said.

“Hicks is observed trying to re-enter the Capitol through the crowd, adding his body weight to other protestors in order to prevent the officers from expelling the rioters,” the affidavit said. “Hicks appears to push for several seconds, until the officers successfully overcome and expel the rioters in the entrance. As the right half of the door is closed, Hicks — now on his own — then appears to back into the officers at the entrance, pushing against the officers with his back for less than two seconds.

“Hicks then retreats away from the Capitol and disappears from view.”