Virginia man gets prison time for online threats

He threatened to kill members of LiveJournal.com and shoot up universities

An Oakwood, Virginia, man who used a social-networking Web site to make threats of school shootings throughout the country has been sentenced to four years in a federal prison.

Allen Leon Sammons, 28, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia after pleading guilty in June to five counts of transmitting threats to others across state lines, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Sammons sent several e-mail messages and posted several messages on the social-networking site LiveJournal.com, the DOJ said. In addition, Sammons also posted long essays on LiveJournal.com expressing his frustrations with the university system, his inability to afford college and his aggravation with "traditional students" whose parents pay for everything.

On Dec. 29, 2007, Sammons posted on LiveJournal.com: "the blood of [two others], and my own is on your hands. Its something you will have to live with for the rest of your lives, you should have just let it go and left me alone. Only thing im waiting for is the rejection letter. You are at fault."

One minute later Sammons posted this message: "I will be killing them with luck I'll be killed also..if not I'll plee insanity...doesn't matter anymore...you are at fault...the blood is on your hands..." Later in the evening he continued, "I know you think it's a joke and not real."

On Dec. 30, 2007, Sammons again posted a message on LiveJournal.com, threatening violence to others on the site: "You should have let it go, you should have let it go, but you had to pretend to be a bad [expletive] and now I've been pushed to far and tragic things are going to take place. If you could have just let us part ways than [another person] would not be dead."

On Jan. 9, 2008, Sammons received an e-mail from the Rice University Admissions Department requesting SAT subject scores. Sammons replied with the following: "I have a highschool diploma thats all you should ... need. Classist and elitists. AK-47 on your campus for destroying lives."

As the result of one of his e-mails, some workers at the Rice department left their office that day and decided to work from home, the DOJ said.

In one post, Sammons stated that he intended to take over a university by force in order to make his point. At times, he stated he bought a cheap, imitation AK-47 assault rifle, which he would use.

He also said he intended to commit "suicide by cop" while in the process of taking over the campus. During a search of Sammons' hard drive, law enforcement officials found a document labeled "People to Kill." The document contained the names of various people and their addresses.

In August 2007, Sammons traveled to the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana to confront some of the students he had posted threats to on LiveJournal.com.

He wrote that he waited outside the apartment door of these individuals, but changed his mind about his course of action.

Tags jaillegalsocial networkinglawsuitscyber bullying

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service

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