Man accused of stalking, threatening to kill TV anchorwomen

Posted at 8:40 PM, Jul 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-22 22:40:19-04

By CNN Staff

(CNN) — A New York man accused of stalking and threatening to kill two nationally known TV anchorwomen has been arrested, authorities said Monday.

David Lee Simpson, 48, was arrested in Bath, New York. He has waived extradition and will be taken to the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona this week, according to a statement from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

He was indicted by a grand jury in Phoenix last week on charges of stalking and computer tampering, it said.

It was not immediately clear whether he had retained representation.

The statement did not identify the two TV personalities, who were allegedly targeted because of their coverage of the Jodi Arias trial.

When asked who they were, spokesman Joaquin Enriquez said: “The sheriff said he would not release the names per Turner.”

CNN, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, is not commenting on the case.

Arias was convicted in May of first-degree murder for killing her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. A jury deadlocked on whether she should be sentenced to death.

Simpson purportedly made threats on Twitter before and after the trial.

He threatened to tie the anchorwomen to a “tree naked and leave them to suffer all night” and then “slit their throats,” according to the Sheriff’s Office statement.

He also allegedly threatened a Phoenix woman who defended the anchorwomen on Twitter.

“Threats against anyone have to be taken seriously,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. “Media personalities are frequent targets and because of their high visibility, they are particularly vulnerable. A few in the past have been stalked and murdered.

“The 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.”

A search of Simpson’s car turned up several guns, shotgun ammunition, handcuffs, zip-ties, binoculars, a knife and a police radio, the Sheriff’s Office said.

A receipt to a recently purchased shotgun was also found but the shotgun itself was not.

CNN’s Amanda Watts contributed to this report.

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