A teenager in the US has been jailed for five years for his role in the harassment and swatting of the owner of a desirable Twitter handle – a swoop that led to the netizen's death.
Shane Sonderman, of Lauderdale County, Tennessee, wanted the username @Tennessee that had been registered on Twitter years prior by Mark "Sparky" Herring, 60, of Bethpage, Tennessee. Herring is known to bulletin-board users as the inventor of the widely used offline mail reader format QWK.
Herring had refused to give up his Twitter handle to Sonderman, who had recruited a group of online friends to harass the man. The gang of miscreants found Herring’s home phone number, repeatedly sending him unwanted pizzas, and on April 27 last year, made a call to law enforcement, falsely claiming Herring had killed a woman and set up booby-trap bombs at his home, which sent cops rushing to the man's door. It was alleged someone with a British accent made the actual 911 call.
Herring grabbed a firearm fearing there were trespassers on his property, but dropped it when he realized there police officers at his home.