September 24, 2023

A plea agreement hearing scheduled for Monday in the Capitol riot case of Olathe Proud Boy William Chrestman has been moved to mid-October.

Chrestman is charged with multiple felonies in the Jan. 6 attack, including threatening to assault a federal officer and carrying an ax handle inside the Capitol. He was to plead guilty Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

But shortly before the hearing was to take place, an entry on the court docket said it had been rescheduled to Oct. 16. No explanation was given for the continuance.

The 49-year-old Army veteran and former sheet metal worker, who prosecutors allege was a key player in the attack, has been held without bond since his arrest in February 2021. He could be seen on numerous videos alongside other Proud Boys on Jan. 6, 2021, dressed in tactical gear, leading chants and at one point using the ax handle to obstruct metal barriers that had been deployed to prevent the mob from advancing further into the Capitol.

Chrestman was indicted by a federal grand jury on Feb. 26, 2021, along with three other Kansas City-area Proud Boys — Christopher Kuehne, who at the time lived in Olathe; Ryan Ashlock, of Gardner; and Louis Colon, of Blue Springs — and Arizona siblings Cory and Felicia Konold.

The six were charged with conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, civil disorder and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds. Chrestman also was charged with threatening to assault a federal law enforcement officer and carrying a wooden ax handle while in the Capitol building and on the grounds.

All members of the Kansas City Proud Boys group except Chrestman were released on personal recognizance bonds pending trial. Colon pleaded guilty in April 2022 to one count of civil disorder, a felony. His sentencing has not yet been scheduled. Ashlock was sentenced to 70 days in jail and 12 months of supervised release in November 2022 after pleading guilty to one count of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, a misdemeanor.

Kuehne pleaded guilty on Sept. 7 to obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, a felony. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 23. The Konolds are scheduled to plead guilty on Nov. 1.

In denying Chrestman’s request to be released on bond at a July 2021 hearing, U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly went through a laundry list of Chrestman’s alleged actions on the day of the riot that the judge said were captured by dozens of photos and videos. The actions, Kelly said, included Chrestman wielding an ax handle, encouraging the crowd to storm the Capitol and confronting law enforcement, telling an officer that “You shoot and I’ll take your f—— ass out!”

Kelly said that “Mr. Chrestman was much more — much, much more — than someone who merely cheered on the violence or who entered the Capitol after others cleared the way.”

Chrestman was originally scheduled for a status conference on his case Monday afternoon. But on Thursday, the conference was converted to a change-of-plea hearing. The notice of Chrestman’s change of plea came one week after Kuehne pleaded guilty.

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