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Gamer Gets 15 Months for 'Harmless Prank'

But Casey Viner's prank got someone killed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 14, 2019 10:00 AM CDT
In this April 3, 2019, file photo, Casey Viner, an Ohio gamer accused of recruiting a prankster to make a bogus emergency call, leaves federal court in Wichita, Kansas, after changing his plea to guilty...   (AP Photo/Roxana Hegeman, File)

(Newser) – An Ohio gamer upset about a $1.50 bet while playing Call of Duty: WWII online was sentenced Friday to 15 months in prison for recruiting a prankster to make a bogus emergency call that resulted in the fatal shooting of a Kansas man by police, the AP reports. Casey Viner, 19, of North College Hill, Ohio, also is restricted from gaming activity for two years while he is on supervised release after serving his prison term, US District Judge Eric Melgren said in announcing the sentence. Viner repeatedly gulped and appeared crestfallen as the judge announced his sentencing decision. He glanced into the courtroom gallery where his parents were seated. His tearful mother got up and left the courtroom.

Viner himself had been swatted just 20 days earlier to the Kansas incident, his defense attorney Jack Morrison, Jr. told the court. He said Viner is remorseful, noting he lost about 20 pounds in recent months "on reflection of the gravity of what occurred as a result of what he believed to be a harmless prank." Authorities said Viner recruited Tyler Barriss to "swat" an opponent, then-19-year-old Shane Gaskill, in Wichita. But the address they used was old, leading police to Finch, who was not involved in the dispute or video game. On Dec. 28, 2017, Finch was shot by police when he opened the door to see what was happening outside. (A well-known columnist also got "swatted.")


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