Man accused of threatening CNN anchors held on $100,000 bond - Tucson News Now

Man accused of threatening CNN anchors held on $100,000 bond

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The New York man accused of posting threats on Twitter against two CNN commentators, who covered the Jodi Arias trial, made his first court appearance Thursday.

David Lee Simpson is charged with stalking and computer tampering.

Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell were the subjects of Simpson's online threats.

Simpson was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail Wednesday night after being extradited from New York.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Simpson was up to no good when he left the town of Bath, NY.

Simpson was arrested last week by law enforcement who found a cache of weapons in his car.

"When you find zip ties, handcuffs, police radios, ammunition, guns - and, he's leaving town heading south - where do you think he was going?" Arpaio asked. "I don't think he was going hunting - not for deer anyway."

According to a probable cause statement filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, Simpson admitted posting numerous threats on Twitter targeting Grace and Velez-Mitchell because of their stance against Arias.

Simpson told police he threatened the two women, "because he was in love with Jodi Arias and wanted a life with her."

"We took this very seriously, as we do all the threats," Arpaio said.

An MCSO spokesman said they also received complaints about threats made against Arias' defense attorney Kirk Nurmi and Dr. Richard Samuels, a local psychologist who served as an expert witness during the trial.

MCSO said Nurmi declined to press charges and leads in Samuels' case were traced to outside of the country.

"We had two (complaints) and we developed it out of state, but it turned out to be nothing," said Arpaio. "And, the alleged victims didn't want to get involved. But, this (Grace and Velez-Mitchell) is one where we really were able to arrest somebody. The other two, we took action, but nothing happened."

According to court documents filed by the defense, threats were also made against expert witness Alyce LaViolette and Arias' only character witness and childhood friend Patricia Womack who decided not to testify because of alleged death threats.

MCSO said they didn't investigate either of those threats because complaints were not filed.

In the case of Womack, paperwork filed by the prosecution states she backed out of testifying after refusing to answer prosecutors' questions regarding Womack's use of illegal substances and photos she took of Arias.

Simpson is being held in the Fourth Avenue Jail on $100,000 bond.

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