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Monday, May 13, 2024 | Back issues
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‘World of Warcraft’ Predator Loses Appeal

CHICAGO (CN) - The 7th Circuit affirmed the 17-year prison sentence of a Massachusetts man who drove all day to try and kidnap a child who spurned his sexual advances in "World of Warcraft."

While playing the online role-playing game, Massachusetts resident Trevor Lucas, began sending sexual messages to a minor in Madison, Wis., and asking the boy to send naked pictures of himself. The minor, referred to in court documents only as "CG," added Lucas to an "ignore list", blocking any contact.

Undeterred, Lucas found another means of contacting CG and offered him $5,000 in virtual gold in exchange for removal from the list. CG agreed, but placed Lucas back on the ignore list when the sexual messages kept coming.

"This served only to infuriate Lucas," 7th Circuit Judge Michael Kanne wrote for the court. "Lucas began sending threatening messages, telling others that he intended to kill CG, and demanding the return of his 'gold.'"

Though the threats were reported to the Madison Police Department, no charges were brought.

Lucas then began concocting a plan to get revenge on CG. "He began by building a massive arsenal of weapons rivaling that of a local police department, including rifles, handguns, stun guns, canisters of pepper spray, handcuffs, restraints, and other various law enforcement and military equipment," Kanne wrote.

Lucas contacted another minor living in Madison and paid $500 to find CG's home address. He then had his car outfitted to resemble a police car, with large antennas and a pull bar, and tried to have an automotive shop remove the emergency release latch from the trunk of the car.

Noticing that the inside of Lucas' trunk had been lined within a clear plastic cover, the mechanic refused. Lucas managed to remove the latch himself before embarking on a 24-hour drive to find CG on August 25, 2009.

When CG's mother answered the door, Lucas identified himself as a member of the "National Security Recruiting Department," and demanded to speak to CG.

"CG's mother, taking notice of Lucas's generally unkempt appearance and untied shoelaces, grew doubtful that he belonged to this vaguely named 'law enforcement agency,'" Kanne summarized. "She refused to admit Lucas into the home, at which point Lucas retrieved a handgun from his car and pointed it directly at her face. In a panic, CG's mother slammed the front door before Lucas could react. Lucas then fled in his vehicle back to his home in Massachusetts."

Lucas was arrested two days later. Police recovered loaded handguns, ammunition, two stun guns, three canisters of pepper spray, seven pairs of handcuffs, 28 flex restraints, three rolls of duct tape, one box of latex gloves, and three military style knives from his home. Behind the house, police found a cave where Lucas had stockpiled more weapons, as well as dug two five-by-ten foot holes. Lucas was already on a conditional release in Massachusetts related to a previous arrest for illegal possession of large-capacity firearms.

He was charged with unlawfully transporting a firearm with intent to commit a felony, attempted kidnapping and intentionally brandishing a gun during a crime of violence. Lucas pleaded to the brandishing charge, which could result in sentence of seven years to life.

Faced with a presentencing report that argued for an upward variance from the guidelines range, Lucas filed several factual objections and included a psychological report that said he could not understand the significance of his behavior because he suffered from Asperger's syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and bipolar disorder. The report also concluded that Lucas's actions were triggered by a manic episode triggered by Provigil, a drug used to treat sleep disorders.

U.S. District Judge William Conley sentenced Lucas to 17 years in prison, followed by a five-year period of supervised release.

Lucas appealed the sentence, arguing that Conley had impermissibly considered the dropped charge of attempted kidnapping and had failed to take into account his diminished mental capacity.

The 7th Circuit rejected Lucas's arguments and affirmed the sentence last week.

"The court found that the sentence would serve to hold Lucas accountable, serve as a deterrent, protect the community, provide the opportunity for rehabilitative programs, and achieve parity with sentences of similarly situated offenders," Kanne wrote.

"District Courts enjoy discretion in determining what information to consider at sentencing [and] was free to punish Lucas more severely on the basis of relevant conduct, and found that he had committed the underlying offense of attempted kidnapping by a preponderance of the evidence."

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