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Tampa Bay business owner denied bond after Capitol riot arrest

Posted at 10:57 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 23:21:00-05

TAMPA, Fla. — A Sarasota County man arrested for taking part in the U.S. Capitol riots has been denied a release on bond.

Graydon Young, of Englewood, faces several charges in connection with the insurrection on January 6.

Pictures attached to an indictment show the Sarasota business owner dressed in camouflage combat gear including a tactical vest and helmet.

Prosecutors say Young was part of a group of 8-10 members of the Oath Keepers, seen in surveillance video shortly after breaching the Capitol doors.

According to prosecutors, the Oath Keepers are a large but loosely-based anti-government organization that believes the federal government has been cooped by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights.

The militia group focuses on recruiting current and former members of the military, law enforcement and first responder personnel.

Department of Defense records show that Young previously served in the U.S. Army Reserve and the U.S. Navy Reserve.

The organization’s name alludes to the oath sworn by members of the military and police to defend the Constitution from “all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

“Smaller chapters all over the country and they are incredibly dangerous in the context that they now believe that they have the green light to do whatever is necessary to bring us to a full-fledged civil war,” said Jeffrey Swartz, ABC Action News legal expert.

Young is charged with the destruction of records as prosecutors say he bragged about taking part in the breach but later deleted the post on Facebook.

According to the indictment, Young wrote “We stormed and got inside” on Jan. 6. According to prosecutors, records show Young deleted that post and others dating back to March 2019 the next day.

“He attempted to cover up the crime,” said Swartz. “He bragged about it and then realized when people were actually getting arrested, he tried to destroy the evidence.”

Young is charged with conspiracy, destruction of government property, obstruction of an official proceeding, restricted building or grounds access and destruction of records.

Attorney Robert Foley argued his client should be released on bond, claiming Young had a “limited role” in the events of Jan. 6.

Foley said Young was duped into joining the Oath Keepers after being misled about its mission in Washington DC.

But Judge Thomas Wilson, shocked by the violence that took place that day, denied the request stating, “I have never seen anything like this… I can’t conceive what else they might do,” referring to Young and the group of people who stormed the Capitol.

Graydon Young

The prosecuting attorney and Judge Wilson both stated it appears that Young knew exactly what he was getting into by traveling with fellow Oath Keepers to the Capitol building.

“Unbelievable action by this group, it was incomprehensible,” said Judge Wilson.

Young’s sister, Laura Steele, was also charged in connection with the insurrection.

A Marion County couple, Kelly and Connie Meggs, was also denied bond on Monday for their participation in the Capitol riots.