An Ohio gamer involved in a swatting incident that led to a death was sentenced today to 15 months in prison, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay $2,500 in restitution. After the prison term, he will serve two years on supervised release.
Casey S. Viner, 19, North College Hill, Ohio, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of obstructing justice.
“Swatting, and soliciting others to swat someone, are more than foolish,” McAllister said in a statement. “Such actions are reckless, dangerous and, as this case proves, potentially tragic. Swatting is not a prank, and it is no way to resolve disputes among gamers. Once again, I call upon gamers to self-police their community to ensure that the practice of swatting is ended once and for all.”
In his plea, Viner admitted he argued with co-defendant Shane Gaskill while playing Call of Duty World War II online. Viner contacted co-defendant Tyler Barriss and asked him to swat Gaskill, Viner thought Gaskill lived at 1033 W. McCormick in Wichita.
In fact, Gaskill gave Viner and Barriss a false address. Barriss called Wichita police and reported a hostage situation at 1033 W. McCormick. Police responded, believing they were dealing with a man who had shot his own father and was holding family members hostage. Andrew Finch, who lived at the address, did not know why police were at his home when he stepped onto the porch. When Finch made a move that startled officers, he was shot and killed.
Barriss was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. Barriss pleaded guilty to more than 50 felonies nationwide, including federal charges in Kansas of making an interstate hoax that resulted in a death and cyberstalking. Gaskill was placed on deferred prosecution.
In his plea, Viner admitted trying to erase any record on his phone of his communications with Barriss and Gaskill.
McAllister commended the FBI, the Wichita Police Department and his co-counsel Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Barnett for their work on the case.
Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Kansas
MacDailyNews Take: A tragic chain of events. Condolences to family and friends of Andrew Finch.