Pittsburgh, PA – A Pittsburgh-area police detective filed for divorce from his wife in February after she went to the nation’s capital against his wishes and participated in the Capitol riot.
Federal authorities charged 55-year-old Jennifer Heinl with multiple crimes in connection with her participation in the events of Jan. 6, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Shaler Township Police Chief Sean Frank said that Heinl’s husband, Shaler Township Police Detective Michael Heinl, had asked his wife not to travel to the rally on the National Mall supporting President Donald Trump that day.
Chief Frank said the detective told him the day after the riot that his wife had been there, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
“His wife was a part of that situation,” the police chief said. “He didn’t condone it. He didn’t ask her to go there. He wasn’t there. He was here working.”
Chief Frank also said he didn’t think Det. Heinl had even known that his wife went into the Capitol building during the riot, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Det. Heinl, a 30-year veteran of the police force, investigates violent crimes and child abuse.
He’s also part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Pittsburg Office’s Violent Crimes Task Force, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
“He’s a very thorough, hardworking detective,” Chief Frank said. “He’s got some advanced experience and training in some different areas of investigation. He’s received numerous awards throughout his career for the work on different cases that he’s been involved in.”
The police chief said he thought Det. Heinl’s name had been unfairly connected to the investigation of his wife, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
When Heinl appeared in federal court on March 19, prosecutors noted that her husband was a law enforcement officer and Det. Heinl was ordered to secure his weapon outside the home.
The arrest affidavit said that Heinl was identified in videos of the Capitol riot wearing a red, long-sleeved jersey with “Trump 20” on the back of it, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
She was spotted outside the Capitol building and inside in the Rotunda and the Capitol Crypt, according to charging documents.
FBI agents identified Heinl through materials discovered during their investigation of Kenneth Grayson, who was arrested on Jan. 26 in connection with the riot, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Investigators found pictures of Heinl and Grayson together at the Capitol.
The arrest affidavit said that investigators found Facebook messenger discussions between Heinl and Grayson about hotel rooms and travel to the pro-Trump rally being held on the Ellipse.
Two days after they arrested Grayson, the FBI interviewed Heinl by phone and she denied having been inside the Capitol building and claimed she had traveled to and from the Trump rally by herself, although she admitted seeing Grayson while she was there, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Court records showed that Det. Heinl filed for divorce from his wife in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas in February.
His police department said he was not a part of the ongoing investigation into his wife that was being conducted by the FBI, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
“She’s an adult,” Chief Frank said. “And I don’t think he had any part in her going there.”