The man behind a fatal swatting incident in late 2017 has pled guilty as part of a plea deal, the AP reports. Tyler R. Barriss of California will plead guilty to 51 charges and will serve at least 20 years in federal prison. Swatting is the act of making a false report to local police with the intent of them harming someone, typically by telling the police they believe there is danger at the location.
The incident started as Barriss was allegedly recruited by Casey Viner of Ohio to swat someone in Wichita, Kansas. There was a dispute over a bet in Call of Duty: WWII. However, neither Barriss nor Viner had a current address. The intended target, Shane Gaskill, had taunted them by giving them an older address, telling them to “try something”. Barriss then made a call to the police alleging a shooting and kidnapping, and police were dispatched. Police then shot and killed an unarmed and unrelated man, Andrew Finch, shortly after arrival.
US Attorney Stephen McAllister said “We hope that this will send a strong message about swatting, which is a juvenile and senseless practice...We’d like to put an end to it within the gaming community and in any other contact. Swatting, as I’ve said before, is not a prank.” The US Attorney’s office said it believes this is the longest sentence ever given in a swatting case.
As of this time, only Barriss has pled guilty. Viner and Gaskill have been indicted on wire fraud and other charges, but have not yet gone to trial or pleaded guilty. The AP reports that Vinder intends to change his plea and Gaskill is in talks with federal prosecutors for a plea arrangement. Under current law, there is no parole in federal prisons, but convicted criminals can get up to 15% of their sentence reduced for good behavior in prison. Assuming 20 years, Barriss will have a release date no earlier than 2036.
Header image taken from the English-language Wikipedia, originally the work of U.S. Army Materiel Command. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. Photo was cropped and resized for publication.