PHOENIX — A New York man was arrested on suspicion of stalking two national news anchors in Phoenix while they were covering the Jodi Arias trial, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.
David Lee Simpson, 48, was arrested in Bath, New York after a month-long investigation. MCSO said Simpson became infatuated with Arias and was angered by the way the female anchors covered the trial. He allegedly sent the anchors threatening tweets.
MCSO said some of the tweets threatened to strap the anchors to a “tree naked and leave them to suffer all night” and “slit their throats.” Simpson also allegedly told a co-worker he wanted to gut one anchor “like a deer.”
“Threats against anyone have to be taken seriously,” Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a press release. “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.
Simpson was arrested after he quit his job. He was located by police and was found to be in possession of guns, ammunition, handcuffs, zip-ties, binoculars, a knife and a police radio. A receipt for a shotgun was also found, but the gun has not been located.
“This suspect was on his way south with enough weapons in his car to do serious harm to someone,” said Arpaio. “Fortunately, we acted quickly and in so doing, were able to stop him before anything could transpire.”
Simpson was also in possession of several newspaper clippings concerning shootings, including some about the shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
Simpson was charged with three counts of computer tampering and two counts of stalking. All are felonies. He is scheduled to be transported to Phoenix on Wednesday.
The anchors have not been identified, per a request from Turner Broadcasting. Turner owns CNN, one of the main networks that covered the trial.