Bryan Bishop leaves the jail in Key West, released on bond on Aug. 8. MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly

The court case continues for a Florida Keys couple facing federal charges for their alleged participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. 

Bryan Roger Bishop, 51, and Tonya Jean Bishop, 47, who were arrested Aug. 7 at a Marathon marina, are due back in federal court on Oct. 31, when they likely will enter pleas.

The defendants, a married couple, were living on a boat anchored in Boot Key Harbor when they were arrested by FBI agents and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. 

Bryan Bishop faces felony charges, including physical violence and assaulting police with a deadly or dangerous weapon. Federal investigators say he sprayed a chemical irritant under the helmet of a police officer who was trying to quell the riot, according to the federal criminal complaint.

Tonya Bishop, who was Tonya Allison-Oberst until she married Bishop in July 2022, is not charged with violence, but is accused of disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building.

As of Aug. 16, more than 1,000 people had been charged with federal crimes related to the Jan. 6 riot. More than 600 have pleaded or been found guilty. About 600 defendants have been sentenced, with over half of them sentenced to anywhere from three days to 18 years in prison, according to The Associated Press

Following their Aug. 7 arrest in Marathon, the Bishops spent the night in the Monroe County jail on Stock Island and appeared the next day before federal Judge Lurana Snow in Key West. 

Tonya Bishop leaves the jail in Key West on Aug. 8, telling the Keys Weekly, ‘We are innocent until proven guilty. Due process has not been served.’ MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly

Both were released on recognizance bonds, meaning they didn’t have to put up any money as long as they agreed to appear at all court proceedings, surrender their passports and refrain from possessing firearms or other dangerous weapons.

Bryan Bishop also must submit to location monitoring, but Tonya Bishop does not, according to court documents. 

Like all Jan. 6 proceedings, the Bishops’ cases have been transferred to the federal district of Washington, D.C., but many defendants attend via video conference.

The Bishops and other defendants have been ordered to stay out of Washington for anything other than court business, according to documents outlining the conditions of the defendants’ release while they await trial.

Both are being represented by federal public defender Lionel Andre, court records state.

In the detailed arrest complaint, federal investigators trace the alleged paths of Bryan Bishop and Tonya Bishop in and through the Capitol building, although the two did not appear to enter the building together, and were not seen together on the building’s video surveillance. 

It is unknown whether the two knew each other before Jan. 6, 2021 and whether they traveled to Washington, D.C. together. 

In a recorded jail phone call on Jan. 4, 2021, two days before the riot, Tonya Bishop (still Tonya Allison-Oberst at the time), allegedly told her son, who was an inmate at the time, “On the 6th, Trump has called The Patriots together, a bunch of us are headed over there,” the criminal complaint states. 

No further mention is made of “The Patriots” in the document. 

The Bishops could not be reached for comment, as the phone numbers listed in their arrest warrant had been changed or disconnected, states a recording from Verizon.

The Keys Weekly reviewed court records from Clallam County, Washington, where Tonya Allison-Oberst was married to Tim Lee Oberst, who filed for divorce on Feb. 2, 2021, less than a month after the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to Clallam County records. The divorce was finalized a few months later in May 2021, according to Washington court records.

Monroe County court records show that Tonya Allison-Oberst married Bryan Roger Bishop in July 2022 in the Florida Keys. A week or so later, on Aug. 1, 2022, she applied for a U.S. passport in the name of Tonya Bishop, according to the federal criminal complaint.

When released from the Monroe County Detention Center in Key West the afternoon of Aug. 8, Tonya Bishop told the Keys Weekly outside the jail, “I hope you’re using the word ‘allegedly,’ because we’re innocent until proven guilty. Due process has not been served. We’re just regular people who want to live our lives quietly.”

Bryan Bishop, who told the federal judge in Key West that he receives a pension from the Navy, described their arrest by federal agents as “dramatic.”

Neither would comment when asked why they were in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.