26-year-old Tyler R. Barriss, who was behind the deadly Call of Duty swatting incident that led to an innocent man’s death, has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.
Barriss made headlines during Christmas holidays in 2017, when he made a fake emergency call to the authorities on behalf of Casey Viner, who had lost a bet in a Call of Duty game. The intended target, Shane Gaskill, provided Andrew Finch’s address instead of his own, resulting in a series of events that culminated in the innocent father’s death. Finch was at home with his family when law enforcement officials surrounded his residence, and later shot him for not complying with instructions as he answered his door in a state of confusion.
The incident drew outrage not just from Finch’s family but also from the general public as swatting has become a pressing issue, and one that the law hasn’t quite addressed yet. U.S. District Judge, Eric Melgren, acknowledged this while sentencing Barriss, and said that the case went into “uncharted legal territory.”
“If I could take it back, I would, but there is nothing I can do,” said Barriss. “I am so sorry for that.”
Barriss’ apology brings little consolation to Finch’s family that has been struggling to obtain justice. His sister, Dominica Finch, said that while she’s happy to see Barriss behind bars, she also wants the police officers involved to be held accountable as the incident could have been prevented.
As far as Viner and Gaskill are concerned, both men have been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and wire fraud among other crimes. The duo initially pleaded “not guilty” but Viner has indicated his intention to change his plea at a hearing scheduled this Wednesday, April 3rd. Gaskill’s trial has been delayed until April 23rd as he negotiates a plea deal with prosecutors.
[Source: Associated Press]