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2 St. Louis area men charged in connection with Capitol riots

"Things got out of hand and I think people got caught up with it"

ST. LOUIS — Nearly one month after the deadly riots in the U.S. Capitol building, law enforcement officers continue to identify and arrest those who participated. The list now includes two men from the St. Louis area.

William Merry, 62, and Paul Westover, 52, both appeared at the federal courthouse in downtown St. Louis Friday for their arraignment hearings.

Westover's Lake St. Louis home was the scene of an FBI investigation on Friday. He was quickly identified in a viral video from inside the Capitol that day by St. Louis social media users who first noticed the Blues hat he wore while holding up part of the broken signage from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.

He faces several federal charges:

  • Obstruct, impede or interfere with law enforcement officer (aiding and abetting)
  • Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds
  • Disorderly conduct which impedes the conduct of government business
  • Disruptive conduct in the Capitol buildings

"Most people don’t understand it but at the time the people there, they shared a common purpose and went down there and wanted to be heard and state their opinions, and things got out of hand and I think people got caught up with it," said Joe Hogan, Westover's attorney. He says Westover is a father of six. 

"He's a really decent, good person, he doesn't belong to really any political groups. He went to DC, like a lot of people, he was a supporter of Trump, and Trump invited them. Everyone said they're going, they went, and I think he regrets his decision now. I think he's a really middle of the road person, not what you would think when you see the pictures."

Merry is also seen in the viral video holding the sign. Court documents include still photos that appear to show Merry holding the sign up and carrying it through a crowd. The documents also reveal he is the maternal uncle of Emily Hernandez, the 21 year old woman from Sullivan arrested last month for her role in the day's events. She is seen in the photos and video wearing sunglasses. 

Merry faces the following charges:

  • theft of government property
  • knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds
  • disorderly conduct which impedes the conduct of government business
  • disruptive conduct in the Capitol building

 Both men were released and their cases will continue in Washington D.C. courts.

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