Poplarville death threat suspect identified, arrested

Published 2:29 pm Friday, November 14, 2008

A young black man posing as a white man used a social networking Internet application, Facebook, to send threatening messages to other black people.

The suspect has been identified as 19 year-old Dyron Hart of 89 Ellis Hart Rd., Poplarville. He has been charged with transmitting in interstate commerce a communication containing a threat to injure another person, said Capt. Rossy Creel of the Poplarville Police Department. He said the charge against Hart is a felony.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Louisiana office after threats sent to students at Nicholls State University in Louisiana were reported in early November.

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Three NSU students reported receiving the message, along with a student at USM and a Poplarville resident, Creel said. Hart is a former student at NSU. He was arrested on Wednesday by the FBI with the Poplarville Police Department assisting.

Hart faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He was booked into the Stone County jail and was expected to have his initial appearance on Thursday, the FBI press release states.

The message was sent by Hart in early November using a profile he created under the name of Colten Brodoux, according to an affidavit filed in the United States Eastern District Court of Louisiana. After the FBI was notified of the e-mail on Nov. 6, an investigation began. All the victims involved received the same message.

In the message were rants of hate and contempt, including racial slang, about the election of Barack Obama to become the nation’s next president. Death threats were a major part of the e-mail and a comment in the e-mail indicated to the victims that the individual sending the message was a white man.

Apparently Hart used contacts saved in the profile under his own name as contacts to send the threatening messages to through the false profile. Hart was identified as a suspect by investigators who traced the Internet Protocol address used to post the messages, the affidavit states.

During an interview with the FBI, Hart admitted to creating the account under the name of Colten Brodoux and sending the threatening messages to students at NSU, Louisiana State University, University of Alabama and individuals in the Poplarville area. His purpose for sending the message was to “create a reaction,” the affidavit stated.

Issuance of the e-mail goes against everything that Barack Obama stands for, said Picayune City Councilman Leavern Guy. What Hart is charged with doing is wrong and goes against the message of the Obama campaign, Guy said.

Guy hopes that now that Obama has been elected, young black people can pull up their pants, respect themselves and be considerate to their elders.

“Obama being elected is not saying ‘we have arrived’,’” Guy said. “It’s time to bury all this old hatred and move forward.”

Pearl River County Board of Supervisor’s president Anthony Hales said he thinks it is sad that anyone would take the election of the new president and use it to try to perpetuate something such as this.

“We already have enough people on edge due to the election, which I think is sad in itself,” Hales said.

Hales said he hopes whoever did this can see the seriousness of the act and what it could do to the equality and civil rights work done so far in this country.