They called him JackTheTripper online.
A group that has helped the FBI identify Capitol rioters, seditionhunters.org, posted images of him in June 2021 among the throngs of insurrectionists storming the building in support of Donald Trump’s election lies.
He earned the JackTheTripper moniker because video showed him using a barricade to trip a police officer and send him tumbling down a flight of stairs.
The FBI eventually tracked down the culprit, identifying him as Mikhail Slye, 32, of Meadville.
Charged with felony and misdemeanor counts, Slye is now set to plead guilty in federal court in Washington next month and likely to spend at least some time in a federal prison.
Slye will join a small but growing club: Western Pennsylvanians convicted of participating in the first breach of America’s seat of government since the War of 1812.
The total number charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot is approaching 1,000, from all 50 states, and the FBI is still looking for many more. While Florida and Texas claim the most rioters, Pennsylvania has been well represented among this group with more than 60 people accused.
Some 25 of those are from the Western District of Pennsylvania or nearby, ranging from a U.S. Marine reservist from Cranberry to a McKean County business owner. Many have pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial.
Former President Trump, who is himself facing possible charges related to the attack, has said he’ll pardon the rioters if he gets reelected in 2024.
But for now justice rolls on as the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington grinds through a caseload so large that the Justice Department has brought in extra prosecutors.
The cases aren’t exactly whodunits.
Probably no crime scene has ever been better documented. Besides what was captured by Capitol surveillance cameras and police body cams, there’s video that many of the rioters shot themselves and later posted proudly on social media. A lot of them also openly bragged about what they did on Facebook or in texts to their pals.
People who know them back home have also contacted the FBI to turn them in.
Slye, for example, gave an interview at the Capitol about why he was rioting that was posted on YouTube. Agents identified him with that interview, along with images taken from a variety of other videos. In one, recorded with a GoPro camera, Slye is seen throwing a bike rack in front of the officer, identified as J.T., causing him to trip and fall down the stairs. The video shows a gloved hand throwing the rack, and the camera then pans to the crowd to reveal Slye as the person who threw it.
Other video shows Slye getting pepper-sprayed and another person in the crowd helping him wash his eyes out. Numerous surveillance videos show Slye inside the Capitol with the throng.
The FBI said a witness also came forward in June 2021 who said the person in the images was Slye. A second witness said in July that they were friends with Slye on Facebook and had received notification on the day of the riot that Slye was recording live on Facebook from Trump’s rally in Washington.
Among the charges Slye now faces is assaulting police, a federal felony.
He is among several others from the Pittsburgh region accused of violence against officers, which makes prison likely.
Chief among those are former Army Ranger Robert Morss of Shaler, Uniontown welder Peter Schwartz and the “pink hat lady,” Rachel Powell of Mercer County, who is seen wearing a distinctive pink hat while smashing in a window with a massive pipe and exhorting other rioters through a bullhorn about how best to take the building.
Morss, a combat veteran in the Afghanistan war and a former substitute teacher in Shaler, was convicted in August of assaulting police in a Capitol tunnel with a group of other rioters. He is set to be sentenced in February.
Schwartz, who is originally from Kentucky, was convicted last week at trial along with two other men from Virginia and California. Evidence showed Schwartz using pepper spray on police and later bragging online about what he did on Jan. 6, saying he should “probably be in federal prison.” That will now certainly be his fate.
His wife, Shelly Stallings, had also been charged with him and pleaded guilty in August. She’s awaiting sentencing.
Powell, a mother of eight from Sandy Lake in Mercer County, made a name for herself by giving an interview to The New Yorker while the FBI was looking for her. She’s also run afoul of judges in her case by repeatedly flouting pretrial release conditions. Powell is now set to go on trial in February.
Thomas Carey, 21, of Oakland is the most recent accused rioter to be charged. The FBI caught up to him in September along with a group of his friends associated with America First, a right-wing organization promoting the idea of “defending against the demographic and cultural changes in America.”
Carey, a New York native, is charged with misdemeanor counts connected to joining the rioters parading through the Capitol, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, although he didn’t commit any violent acts. Carey has indicated he will plead guilty Dec. 22.
These are the other accused rioters from Western Pennsylvania and where their cases stand:
• Pauline Bauer, of Kane, McKean County
Bauer, a 55-year-old pizza shop owner who often quotes the Bible in arguing that she is a sovereign citizen ungoverned by U.S. law, is accused of storming the Capitol and demanding that police bring out Nancy Pelosi so the Trump mob can “hang that f—— bitch.” Video shows her shoving a cop and screaming profanities. She is awaiting trial.
• William Blauser Jr., of Ludlow, McKean County
Blauser is a 75-year-old Vietnam vet who was charged with Bauer. He was sentenced to pay a fine for his role in the riot but didn’t get any jail time.
• Melanie Archer, of Shaler
Archer, 42, is a professional organizer who breached the Capitol in the company of a U.S. Marine reservist. She had previously given an interview in which she denounced COVID-19 mask mandates because she said they were harming businesses. She pleaded guilty in October and is awaiting sentencing.
• Jorden Bonenberger, of Cranberry
Bonenberger is the young Marine reservist seen in videos with Archer inside the Capitol. He has a tentative guilty plea hearing set for Feb. 3.
• Jorden Mink, of North Fayette
Mink, who is in his late 20s, is seen in videos smashing a Capitol window with a baseball bat. The FBI identified him in part because of his distinctive tattoos. His own lawyer said he acted like a “jerk” and an “idiot,” but argued he’s not really a danger to anyone. He faces numerous felonies and certain prison time. His case is pending.
• Phillip Vogel and Debra Maimone, of New Castle
The pair own Vera General Contracting and Cleaning Services in McKees Rocks and are seen on video shoving past police, forcing open a door and stealing protective masks from a police bag. Like so many others, they later bragged online. They face misdemeanors, and the cases are pending.
• George Tanios, of Morgantown, W.Va., and Julian Khater, of State College
Both were indicted on counts of using chemical spray on police and other offenses in connection with attacking Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who later died. Prosecutors said Tanios, a sandwich shop owner, passed the spray he had in his backpack to Khater, who used it on police. Tanios pleaded guilty this summer and Khater in September. Both will be sentenced Jan. 13.
• Kenneth Grayson, of Bridgeville
A QAnon believer in his 50s who wore a big yellow Q on his shirt during the riot, he pleaded guilty in September to entering the Capitol with Jennifer Heinl of Ross. Grayson livestreamed his crimes on Facebook. He is awaiting sentencing.
• Jennifer Heinl, of Ross
A nurse who was married to a Shaler cop at the time of the riot, Heinl stormed the Capitol with Grayson. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two weeks in jail and 50 hours of community service.
• Dale Shalvey and Tara Stottlemyer, formerly of Washington County
Shalvey, the owner of a woodworking business, and Stottlemyer, his wife, pleaded guilty in October to storming the Capitol along with another woman from New York. Shalvey, a native of Wheeling, W.Va., also pleaded to assaulting a police officer. He and his wife now live in North Carolina and are awaiting sentencing.
• Jeremy Vorous, of Venango, Crawford County
Vorous posted a photo of himself on Facebook inside the Capitol Crypt wearing a “Not Today Liberal” shirt and using his cellphone to give live updates on the riot. He is charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor crimes. His case is pending.
• Russell Peterson, of Rochester, Beaver County
He was sentenced to a month in jail and ordered to pay $500 in restitution for parading and demonstrating in the Capitol.
• Mitchell Vukich and Nicholas Perretta, of Beaver County
The friends breached the Capitol and bragged about it online, saying the FBI wouldn’t catch them. They were wrong. Both got a month in jail and a $500 restitution order.
• Samuel Fox, of Mount Pleasant
He said on Facebook that he hoped Trump would start a civil war over the election fraud claims. Fox also bragged about his actions on Jan. 6, saying, “I’d do it again, fight me.” He admitted to disorderly conduct at the Capitol and got probation, a $2,500 fine and a $500 restitution order.
• Julia Sizer, of Ellwood City, Lawrence County
When the FBI contacted her, Sizer lied and said she wasn’t at the Capitol. But video showed she obviously was. She pleaded guilty and got a year of probation, a $2,000 fine and a $500 restitution order.
• Matthew Perna, of Sharon, Mercer County
He entered the Capitol wearing a MAGA sweatshirt and chanting “USA.” Perna pleaded guilty and later killed himself.