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Published On: Fri, Apr 5th, 2019

Ohio Gamer, Casey Viner Pleads Guilty in Swatting that Caused Death of Andrew Finch

An Ohio gamer pleaded guilty today to conspiring to set up hoax calls to Wichita police that led to what is believed to be the nation’s first death during a swatting incident, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.

Casey S. Viner, 19, North College Hill, Ohio, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of obstructing justice. In his plea, Viner admitted he argued with co-defendant Shane Gaskill while playing Call of Duty World War II online. Viner contacted co-defendant Tyler Barriss and asked him to swat Gaskill at 1033 W. McCormick in Wichita. Barriss was sentenced last week to 20 years in federal prison for making the hoax calls to Wichita police.

Police responded to 1033 W. McCormick believing they were dealing with a man who had shot his father and was holding his family at gunpoint. In fact, Gaskill no longer lived at the McCormick address he had given Viner and Barriss. Andrew Finch, who lived at the McCormick address, came outside to face police. As he stepped onto the porch, police told him to put up his hands. When he unexpectedly dropped his hands, he was shot and killed by a police officer.

screenshot from Call of Duty Ghosts

In his plea, Viner admitted soliciting Barriss to swat Gaskill and providing Barriss with the McCormick address.

Viner admitted that when he learned of Finch’s death he performed a factory reset of his iPhone in an effort to destroy evidence of his communications with Barriss and Gaskill.

Sentencing is set for June 26. Both parties have agreed to recommend a sentence of two years on federal probation, including six months home confinement except for approved travel. A special condition prohibits Viner from taking part in gaming for two years. Viner’s cell phone will be subject to inspection by the U.S. Probation Office.

McAllister commended the FBI, the Wichita Police Department and his co-counsel Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Barnett for their work on the case.

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