The so-called Call of Duty swatter, Tyler Barriss, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his 2017 swatting call that resulted in the death of an innocent father of two. The sentence comes following the 26-year-old California man pleading guilty to “a total of 51 charges related to fake calls and threats,” the most infamous of which was made “following a dispute between two online players over a $1.50 bet in the Call of Duty: WWII video game,” which sent Wichita, Kansas, police to the house of 28-year-old father of two Andrew Finch, who was unrelated in any way to the dispute but was fatally shot by the police officer responding to the call.
Although the 20-year sentence is the minimum allowed by Barriss’s plea deal, the Associated Press notes that it is nevertheless “well over the 10 years recommended under sentencing guidelines,” and to date it is the “longest prison sentence ever imposed” for swatting. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren, who passed the sentence, said that the case veered into “uncharted legal territory'” and that “the law has not caught up with technology and the charges didn’t address the severity of what happened.” The family of the victim has also sued the city of Wichita and the officers involved in Finch’s death, though prosecutors have declined to charge the officer.
The player who put Barriss up to the task, Casey Viner of North College Hill, Ohio, and the intended victim, Wichita resident Shane Gaskill — who provided Finch’s address to Barriss via Twitter alongside a taunt to “try something” — have both been charged as co-conspirators. Both have pleaded not guilty, though Viner is apparently planning to change that plea and Gaskill’s trial was delayed to later April “amid plea talks with federal prosecutors.”
We’ve been covering this story since it first broke in 2017; here’s the whole chronology: