PHOENIX — A New York man is in an Arizona jail on charges he made online threats against cable newscasters Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell because he was upset with their coverage of the Jodi Arias trial.
Maricopa County Sheriff’s officers transported David Lee Simpson, 48, of Bath, N.Y., to Phoenix, and he was booked into jail Wednesday evening.
Simpson previously was indicted in Arizona on three counts of computer tampering and two counts of stalking in the case. He also is accused of threatening a Phoenix woman who defended the anchors online.
Court records indicate Simpson does not yet have an attorney.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Wednesday announced Simpson’s arrest, saying Simpson was infatuated with Arias and became upset by comments that Grace and Velez-Mitchell made about her murder trial.
The sheriff originally said he wouldn’t release the TV anchors’ names because Turner Broadcasting had asked his agency not to. But Arpaio later released a statement identifying Grace and Velez-Mitchell as the target of the threats Simpson is accused of making on Twitter.
The anchors’ names were released because a news organization already had identified them as the victims, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Brandon Jones said.
A Turner Broadcasting official declined to comment on any aspect of the case.
Investigators found guns, handcuffs and other items in Simpson’s car after he was arrested by Bath police and one of Arpaio’s deputies who traveled there, Arpaio said.
It wasn’t immediately clear why Arpaio’s office has jurisdiction in the case.
Earlier this year, a Maricopa County jury convicted Arias of murdering former boyfriend Travis Alexander, but jurors later deadlocked in the sentencing phase of her trial.
A new jury could be impaneled to decide sometime in late September whether Arias should be sentenced to death or life in prison.