Interstate Stalker Caught in Time & Convicted
SAN DIEGO (CN) - A federal jury Thursday convicted a man of interstate stalking: tracking a woman down through the Internet and planning to kill her merely because someone else - a man - had used her photo and claimed to be her in an online romance.
Brian Curtis Hile, 29, of Fremont, Mich., was arrested 2 years ago in San Diego, "in possession of duct tape, zip ties, and a to-do list that included additional supplies he needed to obtain to complete his plan to kill the female victim and her boyfriend, including a trench coat, knife, and chloroform," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.
The jury convicted Hile of two counts of interstate stalking.
Prosecutors said in the statement that Hile had conducted an online romantic relationship for "a couple of years ... with someone he believed to be a woman."
Actually, the object of his affection was a man in South Africa.
Hile became "enraged" and used the Internet to track down, not the man, but the woman in the photo, the U.S. attorney said. Her online "Photo Bucket" account had been hacked years earlier, and her photos disseminated on the Internet, prosecutors said.
"The evidence presented at trial showed that after a diligent search, Hile not only identified the woman in the photograph, but obtained personal information for her as well as her boyfriend, the victim's family members and friends," the U.S. attorney said in the statement. "Hile was arrested in San Diego within miles of the victim's home. At the time of his arrest, Hile was in possession of the victim's address, telephone numbers, email addresses, telephone contacts, contact information for the victim's favorite restaurant and the names and addresses for educational institutions that the victim had previously attended. Forensic evidence presented at trial showed that Hile retrieved the victim's confidential information by hacking into the victim's email account. Hile was also found in possession of duct tape, zip ties, and a to-do list that included additional supplies he needed to obtain to complete his plan to kill the female victim and her boyfriend, including a trench coat, knife, and chloroform."
Hile is to be sentenced on Nov. 22.
Sentencing for interstate stalking - 18 U.S.C. § 2261A(1) - can vary wildly, depending on whether the victim is killed, harmed, or weapons are involved. Because he was intercepted, Hile appears to be facing up to 5 years in prison for each count.