UPDATE: Gamers plead not guilty in Kansas 'swatting' death

Andrew Finch was shot by the police after a "swatting" prank. He was 28-year-old and from Wichita, Kansas. | Photo Undated
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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on two gamers charged in fatal "swatting" call in Wichita (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Two gamers whose online dispute over a video game allegedly led to a swatting call that resulted in police fatally shooting a Wichita, Kansas, man have pleaded not guilty.

Eighteen-year-old Casey Viner, of North College Hill, Ohio, and 19-year-old Shane Gaskill, of Wichita, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to obstruct justice, wire fraud and other counts.

Prosecutors allege Vinter asked 25-year-old Tyler Barriss of Los Angeles to "swat" Gaskill. Police went to a Wichita home in response to the call and shot Andrew Finch, who was not involved in the dispute.

Gaskill and Viner were released on a $10,000 bond.

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12:30 p.m.

Two online gamers whose alleged dispute over a $1.50 Call of Duty WWII video game bet ultimately led police to fatally shoot a Kansas man not involved in the argument will make their first appearances in court Wednesday in a case of "swatting" that has drawn national attention.

Casey Viner, 18, of North College Hill, Ohio, and Shane Gaskill, 19, of Wichita, are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, wire fraud and other counts.

Viner allegedly became upset at Gaskill while playing the popular online game. Authorities say he then asked 25-year-old Tyler Barriss of Los Angeles to "swat" Gaskill, a form of retaliation sometimes used by gamers, who call police and make a false report to send first responders to an online opponent's address.

Barriss is accused of calling Wichita police from Los Angeles on Dec. 28 to report a shooting and kidnapping at a Wichita address. Authorities say Gaskill had provided the address to Viner and later to Barriss in a direct electronic message. But the location Gaskill gave was his old address and a police officer responding to the call fatally shot the new resident Andrew Finch, 28, after he opened the door.

Viner's defense attorney, Jim Pratt, declined comment. The attorneys for Gaskill and Barriss did not immediately respond to an email.

Viner and Gaskill have not been arrested and both were instead issued a summons to appear at Wednesday's hearing where a judge will decide whether they can remain free on bond. Both men are also likely to enter pleas, although at this stage of the proceedings the only plea a federal magistrate can accept is not guilty.

Barriss and Viner face federal charges of conspiracy to make false reports. Barriss also is charged with making false reports and hoaxes, cyberstalking, making interstate threats, making interstate threats to harm by fire and wire fraud. He will not be in court Wednesday.

A first court appearance on the federal charges has not been set for Barriss because the Sedgwick County district attorney is going forward first with his case on the state charges, said Jim Cross, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas.

In the state case, Barriss is charged with involuntary manslaughter, giving a false alarm and interference with a law enforcement officer. That arraignment is June 29.



 
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