Coverage of the Jodi Arias murder trial certainly ruffled plenty of feathers, some more than others.
A 48-year-old man who claims he's in love with the now-convicted murderer is in custody and accused of threatening to "slit the throats" of HLN hosts Nancy Gracy and Jane-Velez Mitchell over what he thought was heavily negative coverage of Arias' case, according to authorities.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office confirms that David Lee Simpson was indicted in Phoenix on July 18 on two counts of stalking and three counts of computer tampering, all felony counts, and has been transferred from New York, where he was arrested, to Arizona.
AP Photo/The Arizona Republic/David Wallace/Pool
Per a statement released by the Sheriff's Office, Simpson was "apparently infatuated" with Arias and, "infuriated" with what they were saying about her, allegedly tweeted several nasty posts about Grace and Mitchell after Arias' trial, which ended with her being convicted of first-degree murder in the death of her ex-boyfriend.
"Among his many tweets pertaining to the Arias trial were threats to strap the commentators to a ‘tree naked and leave them to suffer all night' and then ‘slit their throats.' Simpson also allegedly told a co-worker that he wanted to hang one of the TV commentators by her feet and ‘gut her like a deer,'" the statement continued.
The investigation into Simpson's activities began in June and, last week, police stopped him while he was driving south from Bath, N.Y., after quitting his job working the front desk of an auto-repair shop and allegedly telling his employer he was headed out of town.
Police say that they found several guns, shotgun ammunition, handcuffs, zip-ties, binoculars, a knife, a police radio and a receipt for a recently purchased shotgun in his vehicle. Authorities also allegedly found newspaper clippings pertaining to the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.; a shooting in Webster, N.Y., in which four fireman were fired upon while responding to a call; and an article printed from an Arizona news website about a woman arrested on charges of bestiality.
"Threats against anyone have to be taken seriously," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a statement. "Media personalities are frequent targets and because of their high visibility, they are particularly vulnerable. A few in the past have been stalked and murdered.
"This suspect was on his way south with enough weapons in his car to do serious harm to someone. Fortunately, we acted quickly and in so doing, were able to stop him before anything could transpire."
Simpson, who is said to not yet have an attorney, is also accused of threatening a local woman who defended Grace and Velez-Mitchell online.
The probable-cause statement filed in Maricopa County reportedly stated that he started tweeting about Mitchell and Grace on the night of June 12, after prosecutor Bill Montgomery had announced that he would try again to secure the death penalty for Arias after a jury came back split.
"He provided a full confession and stated he posted everything on Twitter because he was in love with Jodi Arias and he wanted a life with her," the statement reportedly said.
Simpson's arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 1.