Nancy Grace is no stranger to murder plots, but last week she may have been the target of one.
A New York man infatuated with the convicted murderer Jodi Arias was arrested last week for planning to kill the divisive HLN anchor who reported heavily on the trial, according to local reports.
The Leader of Corning, N.Y., reported that David Lee Simpson, of Bath, was taken into custody after making Twitter death threats against Grace and fellow HLN anchor Jane Velez-Mitchell, who also reported on the Arias trial. According to the Associated Press, Simpson was unhappy with Grace’s and Velez-Mitchell’s coverage. He allegedly tweeted that he wanted to strap the newscasters to a tree and “leave them to suffer all night,” and then “slit their throats.”
Arias, 32, was convicted in May of first degree murder for the brutal slaying of former boyfriend Travis Alexander. Her trial became a media sensation, and she is the center of numerous fan pages and websites proclaiming her innocence. Grace, conversely, has attracted countless online detractors over the years, many of whom vehemently opposed her wall-to-wall coverage of the Casey Anthony trial. The website NancyGraceMustDie.com accuses Grace of exploiting the death of Anthony’s toddler daughter.
Authorities believed that Simpson may have planned to make good on his threats against Grace and Velez-Mitchell. The 48-year-old recently quit his job at a Bath auto-repair shop, telling his boss he was going to leave town and “head south.” HLN is part of the Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting System, a unit of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX).
Simpson was arrested in Bath after a traffic stop. Investigators reportedly found guns, handcuffs and zip ties in his car. Following the arrest, Simpson was extradited to Arizona, on counts of computer tampering and two counts of stalking. He is also accused of threatening a Phoenix woman who defended Grace and Velez-Mitchell on Twitter.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., released a statement about the indictment on Monday, saying deputies there began investigating Simpson in June following the Twitter threats. Simpson’s twitter handle has not been identified.
“Threats against anyone have to be taken seriously,” Arpaio said in the statement. “This suspect was on his way south with enough weapons in his car to do serious harm to someone. Fortunately, we acted quickly, and in so doing were able to stop him before anything could transpire.”
In addition to weapons, Arpaio said authorities found other disturbing items, including newspaper clippings related to the Sandy Hook school shootings and the shootings of four firemen in Webster, N.Y., as well as a print-out from an Arizona news website about a woman arrested on bestiality charges.