WASHINGTON, DC (WRIC) — A Virginia man was convicted on eight federal charges after he used bear spray on a Capitol Police officer during the January 6 riots in 2021.

Markus Maly, 48, of rural Botetourt County, was convicted on all counts alongside his co-defendants, Jeffrey Brown, 56, of California and Peter Schwartz, 49, of Pennsylvania.

Maly was charged with two counts of assaulting an officer, one count of interfering with a police officer during civil disorder and several lesser charges, including disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.

Finding Maly

Maly was first arrested in January 2022, a little over a year after he and hundreds of others broke into the Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Maly was initially identified as “AFO-324” by the FBI, who posted photos of him online, with D.C. Metropolitan Police also posting a wanted poster.

(Photo: FBI Affidavit filed in USA v. Schwartz et al)

It was the Metropolitan Police who first received a tip identifying “AFO-324” as Maly, and the FBI immediately moved to verify his identity. According to an FBI affidavit, they matched footage of Maly to a Virginia driver’s license and two booking photos from the Roanoke County sheriff’s office.

(Photo: FBI Affidavit filed in USA v. Schwartz et al)

They confirmed that he was present on January 6 by matching a phone number owned by Maly to a phone that was on and pinged a cell tower in the area on the day of the riot.


According to an FBI report, when Maly was arrested on the morning of January 26, 2022, he admitted to attending the rally in DC on January that preceded the Capitol riot, and walked from there to the U.S. Capitol.

Maly willingly identified himself in a photo taken outside of the capitol building. When presented another photo of himself pointing a can of pepper spray at Capitol Police inside the building itself, he told agents “I should probably lawyer up” — and then promptly continued his apparent confession.

(Photo: FBI Affidavit filed in USA v. Schwartz et al)

He told agents that he “found” two cans of pepper spray when he arrived at the Capitol, picked them up and sprayed them at the officers.

That’s the account of the FBI agents who interviewed Maly that morning — but Maly denies that he ever agreed to speak with them. In a pre-trial filing, he wrote that the statements recorded by the FBI should be suppressed because he “does not believe he signed any form or was advised of any of his rights.”

The first exhibit prosecutors included in their response to this motion was a form, evidently signed by Maly and witnessed by two FBI agents, in which he acknowledged his Miranda Rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer.

And, as prosecutors note in their reply, Maly was “in possession of the form for at least four months, since the government produced it in discovery, and he does not dispute the authenticity of his signature or the form itself.”

The judge rejected Maly’s argument shortly thereafter.

Maly and both of his co-defendants were convicted following a jury trial, which returned its unanimous verdict on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The trio are set to be sentenced next year, and could each face decades in prison under statutory maximums, though they are unlikely to receive the harshest penalties available under the law.