'I wouldn't change anything I did:' Springfield man convicted in breach of U.S. Capitol

  • In US
  • 2023-02-02 01:58:25Z
  • By The State Journal-Register
Thomas B.
Thomas B.  

Thomas B. Adams Jr., faces time in prison but wouldn't change a thing about Jan. 6, 2021.

One of the three Springfield area men accused in the breach of the U.S. Capitol grounds, Adams was found guilty and convicted Tuesday at a stipulated bench trial in Washington, D.C., of obstructing an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, both felonies, and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, a misdemeanor.

His sentencing is set for June 16.

"I wouldn't change anything I did," Adams said Wednesday, speaking to The State Journal-Register outside of his Ridge Avenue home. "I didn't do anything. I still to this day, even though I had to admit guilt, don't feel like I did what the charge is. I did go there. I was in the building. I didn't refuse to leave because no one ever told me specifically to get out. I was never asked to get out until a group of officers came on the Senate floor and told everybody in there it was time to go. We all lined up and walked out."

Two years after the Jan. 6 riot, here's where the cases of 3 Springfield-area men stand

Adams faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison on the obstruction charge, plus financial penalties up to $250,000.

The cases are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.

Under a stipulated trial, which is essentially a paper trial, the two parties come to a stipulation of the facts. The court determines, based up on that stipulation, whether the facts agreed to prove the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

Adams admitted he and Roy Nelson Franklin, 67, also of Springfield, traveled to Washington because "I was laid off, bored, voted for Trump and everything I saw, it was supposed to be an Occupy Movement, like Occupy Wall Street.

"We went to (Trump's talk) just to be there, just to have our sheer numbers heard. My purpose and my understanding was to let (the government) know that America doesn't agree with their decision, we don't agree with how the (2020 presidential vote won by President Joe Biden) went. There's a lot of us still to this day who don't believe there was 100% legitimacy with the vote.

"I had no criminal intent. I had no malicious intent. I took no weapons except the pocketknives I carry with me on a daily basis. I had no desire to do anything malicious, vicious or anything."

After Trump's talk, Adams headed towards the Capitol "because that's where everybody else was going. I followed the crowd. When I got there, the perimeter fence was already knocked down. I didn't knock anything down. I didn't damage anything. I climbed up the back stairs just like everybody else and stood up there videotaping. I noticed the door was open and said 'Hey guys, the door is open, the crowd's going in. I think it's time for us to go in.'"

Adams was among the participants who entered the Capitol through the parliamentarian door, which is a fire door. He said that he walked into the Capitol over broken glass and one of the doors through which he entered had a broken window.

According to Adams, he made his way to the Senate Chamber walking by Vice President Mike Pence's ceremonial office. He entered the Senate Chamber through a door on the second floor and walked into the Senate well where he and others walked among the Senators' desks. While on the Senate floor, Adams took pictures with his cellphone.

At about 3:11 p.m., law enforcement escorted Adams out of the Capitol via the Senate Carriage Door. Adams described this to the FBI as being "forced out."

Most of what Adams saw was "peaceful," except for a couple of episodes. Adams said he never touched a lectern or even papers inside the Capitol.

"I had no clue of the level of escalated violence that was going on on the other side of the building or in that building until I got home and saw it on the news," Adams said Wednesday.

The identities of Adams and Franklin first came to light when they were interviewed by Abigail Higgins of the news site Insider after exiting the Capitol.

The Insider article quoted Adams as saying the event was "a really fun time" and like going to a concert.

Adams later confirmed to an FBI agent that he was the person in a photograph holding a Trump flag on the Senate floor.

Franklin's case is pending.

Thomas Adams Jr.
Thomas Adams Jr.  

Shane Jason Woods of Auburn who pleaded guilty in federal court in early September to assaulting a law enforcement officer among other charges during the Jan. 6 breach, was charged with first-degree murder on Nov. 16 for his part in a fatal wrong-way collision on Interstate 55 near Springfield on Nov. 8.

Adams said he got laid off from his job with a Springfield lawn service company about a month ago. Returning home Tuesday from Washington, D.C., Adams said he got stuck in Indiana because he ran out of money for gas before a friend wired him funds.

Despite facing prison time, Adams said he would go to the Capitol again.

Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, sspearie@sj-r.com, twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Thomas B. Adams Jr. was convicted for breaching U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6


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