Naples man to be sentenced in Jan. 6 insurrection case sought by feds; warrant issued Tuesday
Sentencing scheduled Friday in federal court in Washington D.C. for Naples resident Christopher John Worrell, found guilty in May of multiple charges in the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol breach, has been cancelled and will be rescheduled while federal authorities are looking for him.
Worrell, a member of the Proud Boys extremist group, disappeared days before his sentencing in the U.S. Capitol riot case, where prosecutors are seeking more than a decade in prison, according to a warrant made public Friday.
Worrell was supposed to be sentenced Friday after being found guilty of spraying pepper spray gel on police officers, as part of the mob storming the Capitol as Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory on Jan. 6, 2021. Prosecutors had asked a judge to sentence him to 14 years.
The sentencing was canceled and a bench warrant for his arrest issued under seal on Tuesday, according to court records. The U.S. attorney’s office for Washington D.C. encouraged the public to share any information about his whereabouts.
A wanted poster issued for Worrell said he is being sought for violating conditions of release pending sentencing on federal charges.
"We would appreciate any information from the public as to his whereabouts," Andrea Aprea, FBI Tampa - Public Affairs, said. '"Anyone with information can call the FBI Tampa Field Office, 813-253-1000, or submit a tip to: tips.fbi.gov."
WGCU reached out to Trish Priller of Naples, who was appointed Worrell's guardian by the court and is described as his significant other, and his attorney, William L. Shipley. Neither Priller nor Shipley responded to queries.
Worrell, being tried on charges related to the 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, had been found guilty in May by directed verdict before U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth in Washington, D.C.
Worrell was found guilty following a five-day bench trial by directed verdict from the judge on seven counts including: Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and Aiding and Abetting; Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon; Engaging in Physical Violence in a Restricted Building or Grounds Using a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon; Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon; Engaging in Physical Violence in a Restricted Building or Grounds Using a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon; Act of Physical Violence in the Capitol Grounds or Buildings; Civil Disorder; and Assaulting, Resisting, or Impeding Certain Officers Using a Dangerous Weapon.
There was no ruling on 12 other counts listed for Worrell.
A directed verdict is a ruling entered by a trial judge after determining that there is no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to reach a different conclusion.
Worrell's trial began in late April after a number of delays. His personal recognizance bond was continued after the verdict.
Worrell has described himself as a political prisoner and in 2022 made a tearful set of remarks to the Collier County commissioners urging them and others to push for the release of himself and others from Florida arrested in the insurrection case.
In related news Thursday, a Central Florida man was sentenced in the District of Columbia on five offenses, including assaulting law enforcement, related to his conduct during the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol breach. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Michael Steven Perkins, 40, of Plant City, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Carl J. Nichols to 48 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release.
Perkins was found guilty on March 15, 2023, of assaulting a federal officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon, civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, and acts of physical violence while on the restricted Capitol grounds.
WGCU is your trusted source for news and information in Southwest Florida. We are a nonprofit public service, and your support is more critical than ever. Keep public media strong and donate now. Thank you. The Associated Press contributed to this report.