August 19, 2005 1:01 PM PDT

Police blotter: Net stalker loses appeal

"Police blotter" is a weekly report on the intersection of technology and the law. This episode: An Internet stalker is unable to get out of his long trip to Club Fed.

What: A convicted cyberstalker appeals his prison sentence.

When: Decided July 27 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

Outcome: Sentence of 96 months in prison and three years supervised release was left unchanged.

What happened: Starting in 2000, Eric S. Bowker began aggressively pursuing Tina Knight, a part-time general-assignment reporter at WKBN Television in Youngstown, Ohio, according to the court.

Bowker sent her what the court described as "several dozen strange, lewd, obsessive, and hostile letters and e-mails"--behavior that continued even after she moved to Charleston, W.Va., and switched careers.

Over time, Bowker's behavior became increasingly bizarre, court documents showed. He began writing letters to Knight's parents and sent her photographs of himself posing in locations in West Virginia.

When Bowker eventually was arrested, police discovered he had a copy of the reporter's Discover credit card bill, her credit report, her birth certificate, photos of her new home, car and workplace, and maps of West Virginia, the court said. He also had 20 prior criminal convictions.

A federal jury in June 2002 found Bowker guilty on four counts (cyberstalking, theft of mail, telephone harassment and interstate stalking). He was sentenced to 96 months in prison, DNA collection and three years of supervised release during which he was prohibited from using the Internet.

But after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this year in the U.S. v. Booker case, which revamped how prison sentences were determined, Bowker tried to have his prison stay reduced.

He failed. U.S. District Judge John Manos decided that the previous sentence "imposed on September 11, 2002, is appropriate even under the now-advisory guidelines."

Excerpt from an appeals court's earlier June 2004 opinion: (Click here for the document.) "WKBN has a general e-mail account for most employees, and in June, 2000, WKBN received a number of e-mails relating to Knight. The e-mails were sent from several different e-mail addresses and purported to be from an individual variously identified as 'User x,' Eric Neubauer, Karen Walters, and 'BB.' Several of the e-mails attached photographs with verbal captions. One caption referred to Knight being shot with a pellet gun, and another e-mail said, 'Thanks for my daily Tina Knight fix. Thanks for helping me get my nuts off,' and another said, 'More Tina Knight, that is what I want and need.'"

2 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
He got what he deserves.
A crime is a crime. He knew what he was doing. Ge got what he deserves.
Posted by BMR777 (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
He deserves a longer sentence, this is a crime and can cause irresistible harm to the victim of this crime. When you tell law enforcement you are being cyber stalked such as the Police and the FBI they pretend it is a virus on your system and you must be certified in order to file a complaint. As a victim of cyber crimes since 2001, I have heard all the lies, threats and everything else that goes with complaining about cyber crimes by government employed cyber bullies working for the Department of Education and computer vendors working the the Department of Training, Employment and Rehabilitation who deliberately infect the clients computer systems with malware and spyware and these are the only systems approved by the supervisor at the DETR. So, no that was not enough time. This crime should be at least 25 year with no parole and no access to electronic devices for the duration of their sentence, this is a federal crime day for day. Where are the police when the victim needs help?
Posted by DARETOEXPOSE (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.