WICHITA, Kan. (WXIN) -- 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.
Casey Viner, 19, of North College Hill, Ohio, also is restricted from gaming activity for two years during the two years he will be on supervised release after serving his prison term, U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren said in announcing the sentence.
Viner pleaded guilty in April to felony charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the hope that he would not be sentenced to prison. Viner admitted trying to hide his involvement in the 2017 incident when he realized the antic had gotten someone killed.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers in their plea agreement had recommended a sentence of two years of probation, with the added condition that Viner be confined for six months to his home unless attending school, work or church. They also jointly recommended the gaming restriction.
But Melgren said a prison sentence was required to reflect the seriousness of the offense. It was foreseeable that something bad could happen by calling an armed police force to respond to what police believed was an escalating situation of violence, he said.
“We impose sentences not only for what people intend, but what happened,” Melgren said.
The death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch in Wichita, Kansas, drew national attention to “swatting,” a form of retaliation in which someone reports a false emergency to get authorities, particularly a SWAT team, to descend on an address.
Authorities said Viner recruited Tyler R. Barriss to “swat” an opponent, 20-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.