Emily Hernandez, the 22-year-old Sullivan woman who was photographed last year carrying a wooden nameplate torn from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor for her role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
She also was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and a substance abuse treatment program.
Hernandez entered her plea while appearing alongside her attorney, Ethan Corlija, via video conference. She pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of entering a restricted building.
The other misdemeanor charges against Hernandez — disorderly conduct that impedes the conduct of government business, demonstrating in the Capitol, stealing and disposing of government property — were dismissed as part of the plea deal, according to court documents.
Her guilty plea came days after she was involved in a fatal car crash on Interstate 44 near Stanton. Hernandez was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
The head-on collision killed 32-year-old Victoria “Vickie” Wilson, of St. Clair, and hospitalized Wilson’s husband, Ryan, who suffered serious injuries. A GoFundMe fundraiser, which has raised more than $26,000, has been created to help the family pay funeral expenses and medical bills.
Funeral arrangements for Victoria Wilson have been finalized, according to Midlawn Funeral Home. Visitation is set for Thursday, Jan. 13, from 4 to 8 p.m. and Friday, Jan. 14, from noon to 1 p.m., with the funeral following. Interment will be in the Midlawn Memorial Gardens cemetery.
Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Becker said a decision on charges against Hernandez won’t be made until he receives toxicology reports that detail Hernandez’s blood alcohol levels at the time of the crash. That report likely won’t be ready for several weeks, Becker said.
The Kansas City Star reported that at Monday’s hearing, federal prosecutor Jessica Arco told the judge that the crash was “extremely concerning and devastating for all involved.”
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg approved the government’s proposed new restrictions on Hernandez. In addition to the mental health evaluation and alcohol and drug testing and treatment, she also must surrender her passport and will be prohibited from driving, drinking alcohol and possessing firearms.
Hernandez was the first Missouri resident to be charged in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Hernandez was one of three people who traveled together to Washington, D.C. for the “Stop the Steal” rally.
All three entered the Capitol and were charged. William D. “Bill” Merry, Hernandez’s uncle, and Paul Scott Westover, his friend, have both pleaded guilty.
On Monday, Hernandez acknowledged in her plea that she breached the Capitol and entered Pelosi’s suite, taking a piece of the broken sign bearing the speaker’s name. She also admitted to entering the rotunda and taking a “Do Not Touch” sign from the foot of a statue and carrying a red “Keep off Fence” sign from the Capitol grounds.
Hernandez will be sentenced at noon on March 21. She faces the possibility of serving six months in federal prison. She also may be ordered to pay a fine and restitution.
The FBI said government officials said the Pelosi sign would cost $870 to replace. Prosecutors said the overall damage to the Capitol totaled about $1.5 million.