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Press Release

Federal Judge Sentences Black Mountain, N.C. Man To Prison For Communicating A Threat On Twitter

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. sentenced Joseph Cecil Vandevere, 53, of Black Mountain, N.C. today to ten months in prison and one year of supervised release for using social media to communicate interstate threats, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney Office for the Western District of North Carolina.  Judge Cogburn allowed Vandevere to self-report to the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. 

John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, joins U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents, evidence presented at trial, and today’s sentencing hearing, on March 13, 2018, Twitter user @DaDUTCHMAN5, later identified as Vandevere, used his social media account to send a message that contained a threat to injure an individual identified in court records as Q.R. In the message, Vandevere sent Q.R. a picture of a lynching accompanied by a death threat. FBI agents interviewed Vandevere on July 18, 2018, at which time he admitted to using social media under pseudonyms to send threatening messages. As trial evidence established, Vandevere sent the death threat to Q.R. because he did not agree with Q.R.’s religious beliefs.

On December 6, 2019, a federal jury convicted Vandevere of making a threatening communication to injure another person through interstate commerce. 

In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the FBI for their investigation of this case.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case for the United States.

Updated June 2, 2020