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Kansas City swatting co-defendant gets 15 month sentence, two year ban on gaming

(Image credit: US Courts)
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Casey Viner, one of the men involved in the 2017 swatting incident that prompted police to surround and ultimately shoot and kill a man, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. A statement (opens in new tab) issued by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Kansas (via Polygon (opens in new tab)) said Viner will serve two years on "supervised release" after his sentence is complete, during which time he will be forbidden from playing online games, and must pay $2,500 in restitution.

Viner initially pleaded not guilty to the charges but changed his plea earlier this year, agreeing to guilty pleas on one count of conspiracy and one count of obstructing justice. He admitted to asking co-defendant Tyler Barriss to swat co-defendant Shane Gaskill following a dispute over a Call of Duty match (opens in new tab). Gaskill provided Barriss a false address, however, which led Wichita police to the home of 28-year-old Andrew Finch. Finch stepped onto the front porch of his surrounded house, as demanded by police, and when he made what the District Attorney described as "a move that startled officers," an officer shot and killed him.

"Swatting, and soliciting others to swat someone, are more than foolish," US Attorney Stephen McAllister said. "Such actions are reckless, dangerous and, as this case proves, potentially tragic. Swatting is not a prank, and it is no way to resolve disputes among gamers. Once again, I call upon gamers to self-police their community to ensure that the practice of swatting is ended once and for all."

Barriss, who actually carried out the swat attack by calling police, pleaded guilty to 51 counts and was sentenced to 20 years in prison earlier this year. Gaskill has been placed on "deferred prosecution," which according to a Business Insider report from May will likely see the charges against him dropped if he pays $1,000 restitution and other penalties by the end of 2020. The officer who  killed Finch was not charged, but Finch's family filed a civil suit against the city in 2018.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.