Felicia Konold: The Cruelty of J6 Arrests

In 2020, Felicia Konold, 26 years old, was in a horrific, life-threatening car accident that threw her through the windshield, breaking her back and degloving her face. The accident left her with a traumatic brain injury, which has since affected her memory. She is a single mother who had, at age 15, already birthed a stillborn child and, at age 16, bore another child, a boy who is now 13 years old. Little did Konold know that a year later, she would again be a month pregnant, this time through artificial insemination, and thrown into solitary confinement in a federal prison. All for her participation in the Jan. 6 protest at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

FBI agents conducted their typical early morning raid at her trailer in a remote area outside of Tuscon. The FBI agents held her at gunpoint and hauled her off to prison about a month after the protest. Konold was thrown into solitary confinement for almost two weeks. No one knew where she was. She didn't get any phone calls. They didn't tell her why she was there. 

She and her brother Cory, age 25 at the time, traveled by car to the protest partially out of curiosity. In her case, the intention was to "address her grievances and stand up for all Americans." The trip was her idea, but her brother, who leans left politically, went along for the ride anyway. Little did Konold know that an unplanned encounter with a small group of Proud Boys at the event would be used against her by the federal government. Because she walked to the Capitol in the company of some of the Proud Boys, the government would twist itself into a pretzel to allege Konold was closely associated with the group and was conspiring to obstruct the proceedings. She and her brother are listed as co-conspirators, with several Proud Boys in the complaint. Cory's pretrial punishment and sentence have been lighter than his sister's. Konold suspects it is because he was a proveably disinterested, apolitical kid and was only there because his sister asked him to go.

To set the record straight, Konold never conspired with or planned to attend the protest with any Proud Boy prior to or on Jan. 6. She did, however, meet some of them there, walked with them to the Capitol, and engaged in helping with "disrupting and dismantling barriers" to access the Capitol. She also talked about her participation in the protest on Snapchat, boasting about being supported by "her boys" because they had stuck together for a portion of the protest.


The Pretrial Hell of a J6er

However, the most compelling part of Konold's story is how her life changed after her arrest pretrial. Konold has suffered in the same ways almost every J6 defendant has suffered. However, being a single, pregnant mother made her life after her arrest extraordinarily challenging, beginning with her inexplicable solitary confinement in an Arizona federal prison. She had no criminal record, had never been arrested, and was completely unprepared for the treatment she received. She was arrested on Feb. 11, 2021. The FBI shackled her and took her away. Eventually, she was thrown into a tiny, windowless cement cell with a combination sink/toilet bowl with barely a drip of water coming out of its faucet. For almost two weeks, she was fed scraps through a trap door and, at one point, went five days without a shower. 

Konold was released on Feb. 26 and ordered to home detention with an ankle monitor where she was, according to the order, "restricted at all times except for employment; education; religious services; medical, substance abuse, or mental health treatment; attorney visits; court appearances; court-ordered obligations; or other activities approved in advance by the pretrial services office or supervising officer."

Because she lives in a rural location, Konold told UncoverDC she was "unable to go to work, unable to feed myself, unable to do anything besides stay in my house." Konold says she nearly starved to death during this period of time while pregnant, relying on the intermittent kindness of others to deliver food and other necessities. The circumstances made it difficult to focus on anything other than her pregnancy. Some help did come her way, fortunately. A group in California stepped up to help her with groceries for a period of time. The Patriot Freedom Project gave her some baby clothing and a handsome amount of money to help fund her final attorney. 

When Konold was around eight months pregnant, the court finally agreed to let her "leave for groceries and to get a job as long as it was pre-planned and pre-approved. I got a job scrubbing kennels," Konold continued, "So I did that until I was about 40 weeks. Scrubbed kennels with poop and pee to get some money for food and bills. I had to quit at 40 weeks. I just couldn't handle it physically." Konold remained in home confinement until she gave birth to her second son, Henry, on Nov. 5, 2021. "I was doing that and then coming home and being very malnourished. I couldn't eat or sleep because I had very bad night terrors for a long, long time. I don't know how Henry made it, but he did."

Due to her arrest, Konold was "flagged before she was charged, making it hard to find a job. Everything I said online was censored. I was taken off Facebook, Instagram, [and] PayPal. I'm banned and blocked on Venmo, Stripe, and for a long time on GiveSendGo. I've remade an account recently, and that so far been OK. I am banned from Fidelity, Weeble, Robin Hood, all of them. I'm not allowed on their platforms. Whenever I traveled to DC, they put quad S's on all my plane tickets. I am months behind on bills, am maxed out and overdrawn on credit cards. I have a trailer home to pay for, and I am trying to raise money for my family."

After Henry's birth, to make money, she babysat for another mother, baked and sold bread, and cleaned houses. "Just odds and ends kind of thing," she added. Konold also donated and sold her breast milk for NICU babies. In addition, she sold her breast milk "at a discount rate to elderly people who need nutritional supplements." 

When Henry was a little older, Konold was able to get a job in her profession. It helped that Konold is a highly skilled professional, certified in ICU animal medicine, a field that often struggles to find trained and qualified personnel. J6 defendants have difficulty finding work, especially those with felony indictments. However, a corporate chain of veterinary hospitals agreed to employ her because she was skilled and not yet fully charged. It has been grueling for her since her son was born. She found "two jobs in a different city working overnight Vet ER. I would drive to work two hours, [and] work 13-15 hours overnight straight. Then I would drive 2 hours home, take care of my children, homeschool my teenager, and then go back to work [and] do it again. I have been doing that for the last year and a half." She worked the night shift because it was cheaper to pay for childcare since the baby was sleeping and the workload light. In December, when she came back from her trip to DC, she "was terminated on her first shift back." 

Konold's Charges

In addition to several misdemeanors, Konold was initially indicted with two felony counts, the all too common 1752 and 151218 U.S.C. 1752 makes it a federal crime to trespass on a restricted building or grounds, but if a person carries or uses a deadly weapon while trespassing, it becomes a felony. The 1512 felony count is now being considered in the Supreme Court, and a reversal of 1512 charges for J6 defendants could profoundly impact their cases.

The government initially asked for 36 years in federal prison for Konold. Along the way, Konold turned down a plea deal of four to nine years. Ultimately, she pled down to just the one 1512 felony charge with a final offer of six months and the less serious felony. Miraculously, Konold was eventually only sentenced to 45 days in federal prison with an additional three months of home confinement with GPS monitoring. Konold will pay for the ankle monitor and be responsible for a $2000 fine when she is released.


Sentencing Hearing

During her Jan. 1, 2024 sentencing hearing, Judge Kelly told Konold it was her moving statement and her many glowing character letters that convinced him to reduce her sentence. According to Konold, Judge Kelly stated, "I read through your character letters extensively, and the weight of the things mentioned in those letters are things that I've never heard of a single person doing." Konold shared that the judge seemed moved by her many acts of kindness. She gave examples, "There's like one where [I] stayed by to help with a stillbirth. I rehabilitated elderly sick people for years. I donated gallons of breast milk to NICU babies when I was home with my babies."

While Konold read her statement, she explained that her "tears were so bad she couldn't even see the paper she was reading it from." Kelly looked at her and told her "to take a breath." At that point, Konold thought to herself, "This guy does have a soul. And then he gave the verdict of 45 days in prison plus three months of home confinement. Then the judge looked at the prosecutor who had been reaming me the whole sentencing, looking for blood, and he said, 'Do you have any objection to the sentence?' And the prosecutor just like looked at me and put his head down and shook his head, no. My lawyer was bewildered. He had given me a hard time about my wanting to manifest [a good outcome]. He threw his hands up and said to me, 'You did it.' No one saw that coming." Konold has to turn herself in before Apr. 1. However, the paperwork detailing her prison location has yet to arrive.

As for her two-year-old Henry, Konold is very worried about him because they are so close. She rarely leaves his side. Konold found a family across the country who has similar values to hers. The family will take Henry while she is in prison. Konold still has to raise money for airfare and to provide for him while he is there. "They have four kids of their own, and they are already strapped for money," said Konold. She added, "It's going to be a really hard adjustment. It's going to be really hard for that Mama because he's still breastfeeding. The longest he's been away from me is when I had to go to my sentencing. And I took red eye flights to DC, went to court, flew back the same day. It was 2 1/2 days and 24 hours he was crying at the door, looking for me. It's going to be hard."

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