By Rachel Dove
LAUREL CREEK - According to West Virginia state law, it is unlawful for any person, with intent to harass or abuse another person, do so by using a computer, cellphone, personal digital assistant or any other electronic communications device to commit or threaten to commit the crime.
Thanks to this statute, a Logan County man found himself behind bars after letting his temper get the best of him, and a Mingo County resident and his family are now resting a little easier.
According to information included in a criminal complaint filed July 3 in magistrate court by Mingo County Chief Field Deputy Joe Smith and Deputy Jonathan Endicott, Hubert Spry, 28, of Low Gap Branch on Harts Creek in Logan County, was taken into custody after he was served with warrants charging him with two counts of computer harassment.
Smith told the Daily News that he and Endicott had been dispatched to the Laurel Creek residence of Michael Paul Dillon, who had contacted police regarding threats he had received on the popular social media site Facebook that were very serious in nature.
The arrest report reads that the first threat Spry sent to Dillon via Facebook stated, “When your (expletive) cars and house blows up don’t cry cause I know people that you don’t and you can easily be gone and I don’t give a (expletive) - bye-bye.” The second, according to the arrest report, was shorter in nature but was just as serious, saying “shut the (expletve) up dude the only reason I ain’t gutted you or your family is them kids.”
“A threat is a threat, and is against the law no matter how it is delivered,” said Mingo County Sheriff James Smith. “A lot of people think that you can say anything you want on social media sites without fear or repercussion, but I assure you, that’s far from being true.
“The public needs to remind themselves that once words or a photo are posted on a public site, they’re out there forever. Think carefully before you do something rash in a moment of anger or frustration that could quickly come back to haunt you,” the sheriff said. “A threat to someone’s life or their well-being is just as serious on the computer as it is when it’s delivered face to face or by phone … there’s no difference.”
The arrest warrants were signed by Senior Status Magistrate Kim Blair, who also handled the arraignment after the defendant was taken into custody. Spry was remanded to the custody of the Southwestern Regional Jail at Holden, where he was held in lieu of $2,000 bond.