Tennessee man sentenced to five years in federal prison for ‘swatting’ death


LAUDERDALE CO., Tenn. — A Middle Tennessee man died of a heart attack after his home was surrounded by a SWAT team. This week, the Lauderdale County man who called them there was sentenced to five years in federal prison. 

Last year, Mark Herring thought his Sumner County home was under attack. It turns out police there because someone had called them to report a murder at Herring’s home. 

The murder report turned out to be fake, but later Herring would die of a heart attack. Wednesday, 20-year-old Shane Sonderman was sentenced to five years in federal prison for Herring’s death. 

He’d gathered Herring’s address and supplied it to a man in the United Kingdom, who then made the call to police. The two were unhappy Herring had refused to sell them his valuable Twitter handle @tennessee, which they had hoped to sell for even more money.

Sonderman, who lived outside of Ripley, is accused of doing the same thing to at least five people across the country, but Herring was the only one to die.

Sonderman’s family wouldn’t talk to us Friday, so it’s unclear what they knew about his online behavior. Sonderman’s alleged co-conspirator is still a minor,  so he isn’t being extradited from the U.K. 

On the night of Herring’s death, his family members say they also received unwanted cash-only pizza orders at their home. It’s another one of the tactics prosecutors say Sonderman would employ to force a Twitter handle sale. 

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