Man responsible for fatal 2017 swatting sentenced to 20 years in jail

4 years ago 0 Comments

The man who instigated a 2017 swatting that resulted in the death of a bystander at the hands of police has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. The sentence is double that of the ten years recommended by guidelines, according to this AP report, but was handed down as part of a deal in which 26-year-old Tyler Barriss pleaded guilty to 51 federal charges related to fake calls and threats. 

The charges against Barriss followed the death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch, who was shot by police responding to a call claiming that someone at Finch's address had killed one person and was holding others hostage. That call was placed by Barriss, allegedly at the behest of 19-year-old Casey Viner, who was embroiled in a dispute over a Call of Duty: WW2 match with 20-year-old Shane Gaskill. When Gaskill discovered that Barriss was trying to track him down, he provided an old address—Finch's—and dared him to do something. 

"We hope that this will send a strong message about swatting, which is a juvenile and senseless practice," U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said after sentencing. "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."

Viner and Gaskill initially pleaded not guilty to charges related to the swatting, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and wire fraud, but Viner has notified the court that he wants to change his plea and Gaskill is also engaged in plea-related talks with prosecutors. The officer who actually shot and killed Finch as he exited his house as ordered by police was not charged; Finch's family has filed a lawsuit against the city of Wichita and the officers involved in the killing.

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