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Capitol riot defendant 'absconded' with $200k from property sale, DOJ says

A D.C. Superior Court judge issued a warrant for Darrell Neely on Aug. 10. Three weeks later, police can't locate him and his attorney says she can't get in contact.

WASHINGTON — A D.C. man awaiting trial on Capitol riot charges can't be located by police to serve a bench warrant and now appears to be a fugitive, federal prosecutors said in a filing Friday. 

On Aug. 10, D.C. Superior Court Judge Kimberley Knowles issued a warrant for Darrell Neely for failure to appear at a probation violation hearing for a 2021 domestic violence case. Court records show Neely was charged with assault and destruction of property in February 2021 and pleaded guilty to the assault charge in August of last year. Neely was sentenced to 60 days in jail, all suspended, and a year of probation. Since then, court records show, at least five probation violations have been reported, resulting in two bench warrants in the case. A judge also ordered a bench warrant for Neely’s arrest in D.C. family court in November after Neely was found in contempt for refusing to pay more than $5,000 in alimony and child support. It was unclear from court records how or if that warrant was resolved.

Since the bench warrant was issued, however, police have not been able to locate Neely. A DC Police spokesperson told WUSA9 last week Neely’s whereabouts were “unknown” and confirmed again on Wednesday that no arrest had yet been made. Neely’s attorney in his domestic violence case, Chidi Ogolo (who does not represent him in his Jan. 6 case), told WUSA9 he had been in contact with Neely since the bench warrant was issued but could not comment about whether his client had plans to accept service of the warrant. 

Credit: Department of Justice
Darrell Neely, of D.C., was charged with five misdemeanor counts for allegedly entering the U.S. Capitol Building and stealing items belonging to Capitol Police on Jan. 6, 2021.

Neely, who is facing multiple counts alleging he stole property belonging to U.S. Capitol Police on Jan. 6, is represented in his federal case by attorney Kira Anne West. West filed a motion Aug. 8, two days before the D.C. bench warrant was issued, asking a judge to suppress statements Neely made during a law enforcement interview. On Monday, West filed another motion asking for an extension of time to file replies to the government’s response to that motion – noting, among other issues, that she hasn’t been able to get in contact with Neely.

“Undersigned counsel has tried unsuccessfully to reach her client in the last week to discuss the government responses to motions and the motion to suppress,” West wrote in her motion. West declined a request from WUSA9 last week seeking comment.

WUSA9 reported on Wednesday that both police and West were unable to reach Neely. On Friday, prosecutors filed a motion in federal court saying he was believed to have "absconded" and that he now appears to be a fugitive.

In the motion to revoke his pretrial release, prosecutors said Neely hadn't checked in with pretrial services since Aug. 2 and noted a woman he'd been living with in North Carolina had told the FBI he'd fled.

"According to this individual, Defendant told her that he had sold his property in Washington, D.C., and has approximately $240,000 in proceeds from the sale," prosecutors wrote in the motion. "Defendant also told her that he intends to flee using these funds and is no longer living with her."

D.C. Superior Court records show Neely has a history of failing to appear at court hearings and was briefly declared a fugitive in a November 2007 case. Neely was picked up by police three days later and the court record is unclear as to whether he faced any further prosecution. 

In D.C., failure to appear for a court hearing in a misdemeanor case carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail. A person declared a fugitive can face a maximum sentence of up to 5 years in prison under federal law.

In addition to his troubles in D.C. Superior Court, Neely was arrested and charged in September with five misdemeanor counts for allegedly entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 and stealing multiple items, including four china plates and a jacket, badge, nametag and hat belonging to the U.S. Capitol Police Department. The charging documents against Neely include an image of a video stream from his radio show, Global Enlightenment Radio Network, in which he appears to be wearing a USCP cap while broadcasting.

Neely was identified to the FBI by at least three separate witnesses, all of whom had worked with him at his radio station. According to charging documents, Neely made a video call while inside the Capitol and “narrated” events inside. In a second call, witnesses told the FBI, Neely allegedly displayed what appeared to be a police jacket with a badge on the front and two china plates that he insinuated were taken from inside the building.

Neely isn't the first Jan. 6 defendant to go missing while awaiting trial. In June, Michael Gareth Adams — a Virginia man who bragged he was one of the first people to enter the U.S. Capitol Building — was declared a fugitive after failing to appear for two status hearings.

In July 2021, prosecutors charged five Floridians with assaulting police for hours on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. Four of them were arrested, but one, Jonathan Daniel Pollock, was never located. The FBI is currently offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Pollock, who they say should be considered armed and dangerous.

Another defendant, Evan Neumann, reportedly fled to the Eastern European country of Belarus and was granted asylum in March.

Neely's next court hearing was scheduled to be a status conference on Sept. 21. A jury trial was set for Oct. 5.

We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.

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