Onslow County blogger convicted in cyberstalking trial Monday
Monday, Dec. 10, 2018 in Onslow County district court Gerald Dewayne Jackson, age 23, owner of a blog formerly known as “News in Onslow” and a recent name change to “The North Carolina Beat”, was found guilty in a cyberstalking case against a Jacksonville man, his wife, and minor child. This man and his family have experienced attacks online via live streams on social media networks with false allegations, conflicting reports and malicious intent, ongoing since February 2018.
Not only was Jackson found guilty in the one count of cyberstalking in a matter of Jason Byron Shupe and one count of cyberstalking to his wife, Christy Shupe, but he is also now onto his 5th district court conviction for Internet-related crimes in Onslow County within the last two years.
Three of the five cases have been sent to appeal where he pleaded guilty to one Cheryl Denise Ramsey, dated appeal conviction in Onslow County Superior Court back in Jan. 2018. Further awaiting an appeal hearing in court on a second trial pending date with the owner of The Onslow Beat, Melissa Oakley for an Onslow County District Court conviction of cyberstalking from Sept. 2018. Other related computer charges extend back to a 2016 conviction of computer trespassing with Michael and Lisa Claiborne, Pastors of New River Church in Onslow County.
Video evidence of footage that Jackson shared over social media earlier this year via Facebook lead the judge and ADA Caroline E. Wayhoff to the conviction of the case.
Jackson pleaded not guilty on all counts in Monday’s appearance, yet was found guilty by the Honorable Judge William B. Sutton. The initial cyberbullying charge with their minor child was dismissed as the judge felt the statute did not align with the findings of evidence during the trial in that matter. This charge is partially unrelated to the Oct. 2018 arrest where Jackson was charged with cyberbullying a minor child after an investigation by Onslow County Sheriff’s Dept.
Mr.Shupe was awarded a one year no contact order, effective for one year, in addition to the conviction on Monday in court without a request to the court. The judge found it was applicable to do such allocation during the conditions of the sentencing.
State Prosecutor presiding, ADA Caroline Wayhoff rendered a fire starter for a closing statement that implied and stated to the court that, “Mr. Jackson feels everything is a joke, but the only thing that’s a joke is him.” “Everything Gerald Jackson says in the 22-minute video isn’t about Mr. Shupe, it’s about him. Gerald Jackson is a manipulator….” Wayhoff’s chilling closing statement pushed the card of justice hard on behalf of the state’s witnesses. Not only justice prevailed in court for this family, but a sense of vindication.
Jackson was given a suspended sentence of 90 days, supervised probation and ordered to pay fines and court costs.
Judge Sutton warned Jackson again, “you’re getting there, I’ve warned you before….” implying that if Jackson doesn’t redirect his behavior online, he can face jail time if obtaining additional convictions.
Jackson was represented by Attorney Samuel S. Popkins.
Jackson is known in headlines from past criminal history since age 18, for false bomb threats to Onslow County Schools, hospital, gas stations and local restaurants in 2014, according to JD News reports from Apr. 2014. “The threats, which were called in from Feb. 24 through April 4 to multiple schools, a Walmart, a gas station and Onslow Memorial Hospital, cost the sheriff’s office more than $240,000 to investigate, according to Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown.” (JD News)
During the time of the false bomb threats, Jackson was only 18 years old and reportedly “working through frustrations in his life”, through the threats.
Court documents expose the timeline and detail of the calls for which Jackson was convicted, all of which took place in 2014:
- 2:03 p.m. Feb. 24 — to Southwest High School
- 3:01 p.m. Feb. 24 — to Southwest Middle School
- 10:42 a.m. Feb. 25 — to Blue Creek Elementary School
- 10:41 a.m. Feb. 28 — to Southwest High School
- 7:18 a.m. March 31 — to Blue Creek Elementary School
- 8:52 a.m. March 31 — to Southwest High School
- 9 a.m. March 31 — to Southwest Elementary School
- 2:23 a.m. April 3 — to Wilco Hess gas station on N.C. 53
- 5:02 a.m. April 4 — to Hand Mart on U.S. 258
- 5:06 a.m. April 4 — to Scotchman gas station on N.C. 53
- 5:19 a.m. April 4 — to Hardee’s restaurant on U.S. 258
- 5:20 a.m. April 4 — to Waffle House on U.S. 258
- 5:28 a.m. April 4 — to Friendly Mart on U.S. 258
- 5:05 a.m. April 4 — to Circle K gas station on U.S. 17
- 6:52 a.m. April 4 — to Southwest High School
(JD News, 2015)
For more in-depth on the nature and context of the calls during the 2014 false bomb threat terror of Onslow County: Dialogue used in bomb threats. (JD News)
Read more on the NC G.S. for cyberstalking and the statistics for how the law applies in cases like this: NC G.S.14-196.3
Cyberstalking is a growing issue across the country with the driving force of social media networks. The Bill entered legislation in NC to become a law prohibiting such actions and deeming so as criminal in April 1999 and became effective December of 1999 as law.
In August 2018, ThoughtCo.com reported, “National figures show victims of cyberstalking tend to be females during the college ages 18-29 but women are not the only targets. A survey of 765 students at Rutgers University and the University of Pennsylvania found 45% of stalkers to be female and 56% to be male. National figures show most stalkers to be male by overwhelming margins (87%). Men represented over 40% of stalking victims in the Penn-Rutgers study.”
In one case, criminal behavior characteristics are similar in part, where a former journalist, Juan Thompson was sentenced in 2017 to 60 months in jail for pleading guilty to cyberstalking and making fake bomb threats against Jewish community centers along with other organizations in the months of January and February of 2017.
Thompson made these threats in his ex-girlfriends name, Francesca Rossi, who was an NYC social worker. Thompson’s actions were a part of a revenge campaign against Rossi, according to the FBI.
Thompson began the abuse to Rossi around the time he was fired from the Intercept as a reporter for fabricating sources.
More on Juan Thompson. (RiverfrontTimes)