A man obsessed with Jodi Arias was arrested after he threatened to kill Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell because of the way they covered Arias’ murder trial, Arizona authorities said Monday.
David Lee Simpson was arrested in Bath, New York, after a monthlong investigation. Authorities found handcuffs, guns, zip-ties, binoculars, and a knife inside Simpson’s car. He had also collected newspaper clippings of shootings, including several articles about Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“This suspect was on his way south with enough weapons in his car to do serious harm to someone,” Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. “Fortunately, we acted quickly and in so doing, were able to stop him before anything could transpire.”
The 48-year-old reportedly sent tweets to the two anchors threatening to tie them to a “tree naked and leave them to suffer all night.” He also threatened to “slit their throats,” according to KTAR.
“Threats against anyone have to be taken seriously,” Arpaio said. “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.”
A source said, “CNN took the threats very seriously and both Grace and Velez-Mitchell were aware of the threats from Simpson during the end of the Arias trial and throughout the George Zimmerman trial, but they continued to do their live shows on location.”
The source also said that Simpson’s threats were deemed credible after it was revealed that he had “quit his job and sold all of his belongings to try and kill the women.”
David Lee Simpson was charged with two felony counts of stalking and three felony counts of computer tampering. He was also accused of threatening a Phoenix woman who defended the two anchors online. Simpson is expected to be brought to Arizona Wednesday.