A 22-year-old California man has been sentenced to 5.5 years in prison for harassing friends and family of victims of the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. Brandon Fleury, a Santa Ana resident, was convicted of three counts of interstate cyberstalking and one count of interstate transmission of a kidnapping threat in October, per ABC News. He was found to have used 13 Instagram accounts to threaten victims' friends and relatives with kidnapping and gun violence, including activist Fred Guttenberg's surviving son, per USA Today and NBC News. "With the power of my AR-15, you all die," one message read, according to prosecutors. Fleury posed as accused Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz and serial killer Ted Bundy in other messages. "I killed your loved ones hahaha," read one, per ABC.
Charged in January 2019, Fleury told authorities he targeted people he viewed as activists with the goal "to taunt or 'troll' the victims and gain popularity" online, according to a criminal complaint. But Assistant US Attorney Ajay Alexander described "a real danger that he will attempt to follow in the footsteps of the very mass murderers and serial killers that he idolizes." Per ABC, Fleury kept photos of his targets alongside thousands of images of Bundy. Prosecutors sought the maximum 20-year sentence, while Fleury's lawyer, Sabrina Puglisi, asked the judge to consider her client's autism diagnosis. Still, she described sentences of 60 months and six months in prison—with the latter sentence to be served after the first—as "high." Cruz is to go on trial later this year. (Read more cyberstalking stories.)