Court upholds conviction in ‘catchmekiller' hoax case

The Georgia Supreme Court on Friday upheld one conviction but threw out another in a case involving a Gainesville man who used the moniker "catchmekiller" in YouTube videos and falsely claimed to have killed 16 people.

The court upheld Andrew Scott Haley's conviction for making false statements, rejecting his claims that the state law is unconstitutional. It threw out his conviction for tampering with evidence, saying the evidence failed to prove the Hall County roofer tried to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution of another individual.

When convicted in May 2010 of carrying out the hoax, Haley was sentenced to three years in custody for each count and was allowed to complete the term after finishing two years in a work-release program.

In the videos, his face digitally obscured and voice changed to a gutteral growl, Haley made claims that led state law enforcement authorities to spend hundreds of hours trying to track him down.

At the end of one video, he posted, "Who is she? What does she do? You answer me this. And I will give you her body. She was still wearing her favorite pair of jeans. But not her beauty queen silk."

Although he did not mention her by name, investigators knew Haley was referring to 30-year-old Tara Grinstead, a former beauty queen who was a schoolteacher when she disappeared from her Ocilla home six years ago.

Haley also claimed to have information about an Orlando woman, Jennifer Kesse, who disappeared in 2006. Her father found out about it and contacted law enforcement.

Haley indicated he knew where the bodies were located and promised his online viewers he'd leave them clues if they followed along. He also promised to eventually disclose his identity, but warned, "Don't try to chase me. ... Don't try to catch me."

After issuing subpoenas to Google and YouTube, authorities eventually tracked down Haley's identity through his Internet Protocol address. When confronted, he acknowledged carrying out the hoax and was arrested.

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