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St. Louis County man pleads guilty to Capitol insurrection charge

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WASHINGTON — A man from Breckenridge Hills in St. Louis County pleaded guilty in federal court here to a misdemeanor charge related to the Capitol insurrection last year.

William D. “Bill” Merry pleaded guilty to theft of government property.

Merry is the second of three people who traveled together from the St. Louis area to Washington, where they attended a "Stop the Steal" rally that pushed false claims of election fraud.

Merry's plea came one day before the first anniversary of the insurrection.

Paul Scott Westover of Lake Saint Louis pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor charge of demonstrating in the Capitol. Emily E. Hernandez, of Franklin County is scheduled to plead guilty Monday. Hernandez is Merry's niece and Westover and Merry are friends.

Merry saw protesters breach two police barricades and throw water bottles at police before the three entered the Capitol about 2:20 p.m., his plea says. He entered the Capitol, knowing he was trespassing, it says.

In House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s suite of offices, Merry saw someone smash a sign with Pelosi’s name on it and Merry told Hernandez to "get you a piece," which she did, the plea says.

They later left through a broken window in the building. Hernandez took the piece outside, and also had a large red “Keep Off Fence” sign and a smaller “Please Do Not Touch” sign, the plea says.

The three left at 2:55 p.m. and drove overnight to return to the St. Louis area.

Merry is scheduled to be sentenced March 21 and faces a recommended sentence of six months in prison or less.

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