US Capitol Police said they found Donald Craighead with the two weapons in his truck on Monday, and that the vehicle was outfitted with neo-Nazi symbols, including a swastika in the driver’s-side mirror.
During a brief court appearance Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty to one count of carrying a dangerous weapon outside the home. The charge is a felony and Craighead could receive up to five years in prison if he is convicted, though defendants often receive far less than the statutory maximum punishment.
Affidavits from investigators contained new detail about the weapons. The machete was 21-inches long while the other knife, which police initially described as a “bayonet” on Monday, was actually a large hunting knife with a 7.5-inch blade.
During the hearing, a defense attorney requested a psychological evaluation for Craighead. Investigators who interviewed Craighead said he appeared delusional and exhibited classic signs of mental illness.
Craighead told investigators he only planned use the long knives for defensive purposes, according to notes of his voluntary interview.
DC Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nolan ordered Craighead to stay in jail until his next hearing. Craighead, a bald White man, was handcuffed and flanked by US Marshals, and was wearing camouflage pants.
Police said in court filings that they found a handwritten inscription on the car that said, “death to others, White power.”
Craighead told investigators he only planned use the long knives for defensive purposes, according to notes of his voluntary interview that were made public on Tuesday.
National security officials have warned, with increasing alarm in recent months, of the threat posed by right-wing extremists and white nationalists. The Department of Homeland Security has said these extremists are being radicalized by disinformation about the 2020 election and the Covid-19 pandemic.