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same article is on line at http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2003-11-04-death-threat-guilty_x.htm

Monday November 3, 2003

N.Y. man admits Net death threat
 

SIOUX FALLS (AP) A former Veterans Administration law enforcement officer from New York state will serve six months of home confinement for threatening to kill a Rapid City woman through e-mail.

Edward S. Grenawalt, 47, of Yonkers, N.Y., pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Rapid City to one count of making a threatening communication and was sentenced to two years probation.

Besides the home detention, U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier also restricted his use of the Internet.

The woman, Paula Reynolds, said Grenawalt threatened her for seven years over Internet chat rooms, e-mail and on her Web site dedicated to fallen police officers.

"The man had a real problem with wanting to cut me up, spread my body parts all over town and have my husband look for them," said Reynolds, whose spouse, Bill is a corporal with the Pennington County Sheriff's Department.

"I'm glad it's over and I'm glad I don't have to be afraid to leave my house anymore. If someone says they're going to shoot you off your doorstep, you're afraid."

Reynolds, 44, said she met Grenawalt on an America Online chatroom for law enforcement officers but they saw each other in person for the first time Monday in court.

"When I first met him he was trying to pump into everyone's head that the Internet is not for entertainment purposes. He always claimed he was the dark side of AOL. He was going to show AOL that chatroom forums were not to be," she said.

His online names included "dethr0w" and "certndeth," Reynolds said.

"AOL knew full well of him. But they could never do anything with him because they could never track him down because he was using other people's accounts," she said.

AOL's corporate communications office did not return a telephone call Monday seeking comment.

Reynolds said she never provoked Grenawalt and he won't say why he threatened her.

"He would only respond that he was keeping me around for entertainment purposes," she said.

Grenawalt made numerous threats over the years but "one e-mail of him saying he would torture me to death is what hung him," Reynolds said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Mandel said charges of Internet threats are rare but statutes are being applied to Internet use, just as they have been for telephone threats.

"Ultimately it is possible to run this down and find out who's doing it. It's an involved process but it can be done. Nobody should think it is completely anonymous if they're engaged in criminal activity," he said.

Reynolds hopes the conviction and sentence makes other Net users think twice.

"You cannot sit behind a computer and make death threats against someone and defame their character and not be responsible for your actions," she said.

On the Net:

Paula Reynolds' site: http://www.copadorer.com