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Little Rock man testifies in Barnett’s Capitol riot trial

by Bill Bowden | January 12, 2023 at 1:26 p.m.
A gavel and the scales of justice are shown in this photo.

WASHINGTON — The stun gun/walking stick that a Gravette man carried into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, had “spike electrodes” that were long enough to penetrate an animal’s fur, according to testimony Thursday morning in the trial of Richard “Bigo” Barnett.

Billy Pennington of Little Rock, president of Personal Security Products Inc., explained to a federal court jury in the District of Columbia how his company’s ZAP Hike ‘n Strike Hiking Staff worked.

A cap could be removed from the handle of the hiking staff, revealing electrodes that can deliver 950,000 volts of electricity, said Pennington.

He said the device can be used on “mountain lions, coyotes, bears.”

Instructions that accompany the device when purchased show the outlines of a human form with Xs to indicate places on the body where the stun gun would be most effective, according to a presentation by federal prosecutors.

“Induces intense pain,” according to the instructions.

In some photos and videos of Barnett in and around the Capitol, the cap was off the end of the stun device. In other photos, the cap was in place.

Barnett, 62, of Gravette, faces eight charges in connection with the riot on Jan. 6, 2021. He got worldwide attention after posing for photos with his foot on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office suite.

Barnett faces enhanced charges for entering the Capitol with a dangerous or deadly weapon — the Hike ’n Strike Hiking Staff that he bought at Bass Pro Shop in Rogers a week before the riot.

Jury selection began Monday in federal court in the District of Columbia. Witnesses began testifying on Tuesday afternoon.

An employee of the hotel where Barnett stayed in Washington on the night of Jan. 5, 2021, also testified on Thursday morning.


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