COVINGTON, La. (KPEL News) - A south Louisiana man has pleaded guilty to a felony related to his actions in the nation's capital on January 6, 2021.

The man is accused of attempting to disrupt a joint session of Congress, which was tried to count and certify electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election. He, along with his father and hundreds of others, have been targeted by federal law enforcement in the wake of the January 6 riot at the capitals.

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Colby Purkel, 27, of Covington, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to civil disorder, a felony, for his actions during the riot. Purkel and his father, Willard Colby Purkel, Jr., 51, were charged together on this felony count and several misdemeanors. The father's trial has yet to be scheduled, according to federal authorities.

The son, Colby, will be sentenced on August 1 of this year.

Purkel, according to prosecutors and court documents, forcibly entered the Capitol via the East Rotunda doors along with dozens of other rioters. As law enforcement attempted to shut and barricade the doors on the east side, the younger Purkel "joined a group that pushed against the officers, temporarily blocking the police from closing the doors," a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice explained.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

"At around 3:21 p.m., with the doors opened again to get the rioters out of the building, the defendant lent his strength to a crowd that collectively managed to push its way in, streaming into the lobby outside the Rotunda," the DOJ statement explains. "He was in a crowd that pushed against police who were trying to prevent the protesters from entering the Rotunda itself. Shortly before the police could close the door around 3:25 p.m., the defendant and the others in the crowd streamed into the Rotunda."

"Once inside, the rioters were surrounded by a group of officers, who were able to control the situation," it added. "After a few minutes, the defendant was escorted outside, though he illegally remained on the Capitol grounds. He eventually walked to the west side of the building, where he and the rioters remained as police attempted to clear the area."

Purkel and his father were arrested in November 2023 back home in Louisiana.

The DOJ says that almost 1,400 people have been charged across nearly every state in the 39 months since the riot. Nearly 500 people have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

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Gallery Credit: Joe Cunningham

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