WASHINGTON, D.C. (WRIC) — A Virginia man who served as a Navy reservist and defense contractor was convicted this week of breaching the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, in a trial that revealed his deeply anti-Semitic beliefs, connection to the violent Proud Boys street gang and sympathies for Adolph Hitler and Nazi ideology.
Hatchet Speed, 41, of Vienna, was found guilty following a bench trial of five felonies and misdemeanors, including obstructing an official proceeding and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
Speed was investigated by the FBI in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot, and was eventually identified using surveillance video and GPS pings from his phone, which placed him inside the capitol.
Speed was a petty officer in the Navy Reserve at the time, and also worked as a software developer at Novetta Solutions, a defense contractor that “conducted advanced analytics” for the U.S. military.
After the FBI identified Speed as one of the January 6 rioters, they conducted an investigation that included assigning an agent to go undercover and contact Speed, posing as someone with views sympathetic to Speed.
During those conversations, recordings of which were presented at trial, Speed repeatedly made anti-Semitic remarks and expressed the belief that “Jews,” including George Soros, controlled Joe Biden and had enticed Speed and others to break the law by entering the Capitol.
He also spoke about his belief that political violence was the answer to those supposed problems.
“Nancy Pelosi should’ve resigned out of fear for her life,” he said. “Too many Americans have this idea that we have to be peaceful at all costs.”
He elaborated by explaining that Hollywood — controlled, in his imagination, by Jews — had brainwashed Americans into believing that violence was bad.
“Oh, as soon as we’re violent then we lose the moral authority. Who told you that? I’ll tell you who tells you that,” he said in conversations with the undercover investigator. “Every superhero movie made by Jews. Hollywood is controlled by the Jews, you know?”
Speed also told the undercover investigator that he had purchased at least 12 guns following January 6, as well as a number of silencers. He was convicted on separate gun charges brought in Virginia earlier this year.
An exhibit list put together by prosecutors before the trial included a number of items belonging to Speed, including the memoir of Eric Rudolph, a far-right Christian terrorist who masterminded the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing.
The prosecution’s evidence also included Google searches Speed made including “Biden’s Jewish Family” and “Biden’s Very Jewish Family.”
Prosecutor’s also sought to link Speed to the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group who were deeply involved in the January 6 riot, and with whom he had attended previous rallies centering on election conspiracies.
Though the details of Speed’s defense are not readily available, he did attempt — unsuccessfully — to bar evidence of his anti-semitic beliefs from being presented at trial. His own list of evidence to be presented at trial included only the recordings of his conversations with the undercover investigator.
Speed was convicted on all five charges brought against him, and could face up to 20 years in prison. He’s set to be sentenced on May 8.