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'Swatter' in Fatal Case Pleads Guilty

Tyler Barriss faces 20 to 25 years in federal case, still faces trial on state charges
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2018 10:25 AM CST
Tyler Barriss.   (Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle via AP)

(Newser) – The man who "swatted" another in a prank that ended with the second man dead pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday. Tyler Barriss, 26, pleaded guilty to 51 federal charges related to not just the fatal hoax 911 call on Dec. 28, 2017, but also bomb threats against FCC and FBI headquarters earlier that same month, other swattings (some of which led to building evacuations), and buying things using other people's credit and debit cards without permission. The judge said he'll recommend a sentence of 20 years behind bars if Barriss writes sincere apology letters to police, dispatchers, and the family of fatal swatting victim Andrew Finch, the Wichita Eagle reports. If he doesn't, he faces 25 years; he also owes more than $10,000 in restitution and other fees and will face five years of supervised release after his prison sentence ends.

Though the federal cases against Barriss (filed in Kansas, California, and Washington, DC) have now been settled, he still faces charges related to Finch's death in state court and will face trial in January. An online gamer fighting with another gamer over a $1.50 bet in a Call of Duty match allegedly got in touch with Barriss and asked him to swat the other player, providing Barriss with a Kansas address the second man had given him. Barriss called the local police department from California, using a disguised phone number so he appeared to be calling locally, and told them he was holding his family hostage at the Kansas address. Police responded, and one officer shot and killed Finch because, the officer said, he didn't comply with commands to keep his hands up. It turned out the address was a fake and Finch had nothing to do with the online dispute. The other two gamers also face charges, the AP reports. (No charges were filed against the officer.)

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