A Harrodsburg man is one of five people found guilty of multiple felony and misdemeanor charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol. Stephen Chase Randolph, 34, of Harrodsburg, and the other four defendants were convicted following a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Jia M. Cobb on Friday, Feb. 2, according to a Department of Justice press release. Randolph and four other defendants—Ryan Samsel, 40, of Bristol, Pennsylvania; James Tate Grant, 31, of Cary, North Carolina; Paul Russell Johnson, 38, of Lanexa, Virginia; and Jason Benjamin Blythe, 28, of Fort Worth, Texas—were convicted of civil disorder. Randolph and Samsel were found guilty of assaulting Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards with a deadly or dangerous weapon—a metal crowd control barrier. Randolph was also convicted of an additional felony charge of assaulting, resisting, or impeding another officer.
In addition to the felonies, the defendants were convicted of a misdemeanor charge for committing an act of physical violence on Capitol grounds.
Following the verdict, Samsel and Grant were held in custody, while Randolph and the other two were allowed to leave. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 13, according to the Department of Justice.
According to evidence presented during the trial, Randolph and the other four defendants participated in the first breach of the restricted Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021, and led the initial attack on the United States Capitol Police. Their attack paved the way for thousands of rioters to storm the Capitol grounds, prosecutors say. At about 12:50 p.m., Samsel approached the first of two barricades police had set up, opened a section, entered the restricted grounds, and approached the Capitol via the Pennsylvania Walkway. This, federal prosecutors argued, marked the first breach of the restricted perimeter. Randolph, Johnson, Blythe and others in the crowd followed them past the first barricade and approached officers standing behind the second barricade, according to the press release.
Randolph was joined by some of the other defendants in lifting a linked metal bike rack barricade off the ground. driving it towards Capitol Police, striking one officer in the face. According to the press release, the officer was thrown backward and slammed their head twice: first against a metal handrail, then against the stairs, losing consciousness and suffering a concussion. Another officer was driven several feet backward by the metal bike rack barricade until the back of their body ran into the stairwell and handrail behind them.
Prosecutors say Randolph jumped over the barricade and grabbed an officer, joined by two other defendants. Capitol Police forced Randolph and the others to release the officer and back away. According to the press release, when the barricades were down, the defendants and the rest of the rioters quickly overwhelmed the police. The rioters, including Randolph and the other four defendants, then walked to the Capitol building. All five defendants remained at the Capitol for hours, according to the press release.
Randolph, a resident of Harrodsburg, was arrested by FBI agents on April 20, 2021. Federal agents were able to track him down because of his online history. On images of the Jan. 6 attack, agents described Randolph as wearing a gray Carhartt toboggan, a black jacket with a breast pocket on each side and stitching detail on each sleeve, a gray turtleneck, black gloves with a red stripe, and jeans. The FBI was able to match those images with images from an Instagram account that apparently belonged to Randolph’s girlfriend, as well as other social media accounts.
When the FBI photographed Randolph standing outside his workplace on March 3, 2021, he was wearing the same hat he’d been pictured wearing during the Capitol assault, according to the court documents.
According to a statement of facts filed by the FBI, undercover agents visited Randolph at his place of work on April 13. “I was in it,” Randolph is quoted as telling the agents. “It was f*****g fun.”
A week after being interviewed by undercover operatives, Randolph was arrested by FBI agents executing a federal search warrant at a house on East Lexington Street.
More than 1,265 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 440 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony. The investigation remains ongoing.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Eastern District of North Carolina, Eastern District of Virginia, Eastern District of Kentucky, and the Northern District of Texas.
Call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.