WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas gamer whose online dispute with another player sparked a deadly hoax call will have to face a jury after court filings indicate he violated the terms of a diversion deal he made with prosecutors.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren granted the government’s motion to resume the prosecution of Shane Gaskill of Wichita and set a jury trial for Oct. 5. Gaskill is charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and other counts in connection with a series of events in 2017 that culminated in the fatal police shooting of 28-year-old Andrew Finch at his family’s home in Wichita. The death drew national attention to “swatting,” a form of retaliation in which someone reports a false emergency to get authorities to descend on an address.
A February 2021 court filing indicates that “on February 2, 2021, the government was advised by the U.S. Probation Office that the defendant had violated the conditions of his diversion,” and the U.S. Attorney’s office indicates its intent to reinstate the prosecution.
In March, Gaskill’s attorney responded to the filing, saying, “Mr. Gaskill has not violated any laws and has refrained from the use of alcohol and drugs. He has submitted his apology letter and has paid all fees.” His attorney said Gaskill had “difficulty completing the requirements for his GED” and cited Gaskill was not able to sign up for online classes by March, due to increased demands on online learning, due to the pandemic, but was learning in person, as of March 9.
Gaskill was one of three people involved in the swatting call. The other two were both sentenced to prison.