Cyberstalker gets max sentence
Published: Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Updated: Friday, August 10, 2012 15:08
Former staff writer for The Nicholls Worth Preston Stock received the maximum sentence for cyberstalking at least three members of the Nicholls community after pleading guilty last Thursday.
Stock, a former Nicholls freshman from Waggaman, was banned from campus last semester for cyberstalking Brian Heck, associate professor of mathematics, Julie Jacobs, freshman from Paulina, and Katherine Conner, assistant professor of English.
Thibodaux City Court Judge Mark Chiasson gave Stock the maximum sentence for cyberstalking in the first offense, which includes $2,000 in fines, plus court costs and one year in jail.
Chiasson suspended the jail sentence in lieu of two years of supervised probation to be monitored by Jefferson Parish, where Stock lives and is enrolled in the University of New Orleans. Stock must also perform 100 hours of community service under Jefferson Parish supervision.
Chiasson explained that cyberstalking is a graduated offense, and the sentencing of the second and third offenses are "much worse."
"This (a second offense) is a serious felony. You can go to prison," Chiasson warned Stock during sentencing.
If Stock defaults on his fine, he will serve 90 days in jail. Stock must continue psychiatric therapy and submit monthly reports to Chiasson. On Feb. 27, 2012, Stock must submit proof of community service served to Chiasson and pay any fines and costs due.
After one year of supervised probation, Chiasson said that he "might consider the possibility" of allowing Stock's second year to continue unsupervised.
Stock is to register for community service and for probation by Nov. 6, 2011. Chiasson explained that a violation of probation may mean jail for Stock.
"I don't want to do that to you," Chiasson told Stock. "Don't make me do that to you."
Stock must also remain drug and alcohol free and submit to random drug testing at his own cost, while maintaining gainful employment or schooling. Stock is also not allowed to contact the three known victims—Heck, Conner and Jacobs—in any way, direct or indirect, during probation.
Stock was also ordered to allow his computer to be seized and sold, but Chiasson explained that Stock claimed to have gotten rid of it prior to the trial.
After sentencing, Chiasson warned Stock to "never, ever, ever do that again—ever."
Stock committed cyberstalking by contacting the victims through a falsified Facebook account under the stolen identity of Jamie Jackson, a former female friend of Stock who knew him since elementary school. Stock also interviewed both Heck and Conner for The Nicholls Worth and had proposed to write about Jacobs.
Through the falsified Facebook account, Stock threatened Heck and Conner's students, sent sexually harassing messages to Heck, threatened to stab Jacobs, threatened Conner's job and threatened to harm himself if his friend requests on Facebook were ignored, according to copies of the messages obtained by University Police.
Stock also presented himself in person as a victim to Jacobs. At the time, Jacobs said she believed he was a fellow victim and confided in him. It was soon discovered by University Police, however, that Stock was more involved than Jacobs realized.
When Stock presented himself as a victim alongside Jacobs, University Police discovered the articles written on Heck and Conner and learned that Stock was a former student of both.
Stock was discovered to be a strong link between the victims, and he initially admitted guilt to University Police. His first arraignment was May 9, 2011 where he plead guilty but was advised by the judge to consult an attorny. Stock then changed his plea to not guilty, hired Criminal Defense Attorney Davidson Ehle, and at his trial last Thursday, Oct. 27, plead guilty.
According to Thibodaux City Court Prosecutor Brad Naquin, Stock was asked to change his plea because of the seriousness of the possible sentence.
"No one here wanted to ruin his life," Naquin explained.
Heck, however, said that he would have preferred that Stock was sent to jail.
Heck said that it appears to be over, and he is trying to move on from it, but he is still unsure about the possibility of Stock repeating the offense.
Heck said he was uncomfortable that Stock was able to maintain schooling within Louisiana.
Heck said Stock was a "decent kid otherwise," having known him from classes, but "he can always freak out." Heck said he was not sure about the safety of allowing Stock to continue enrollment in a university.
Jacobs declined to comment, and Conner could not be reached by The Nicholls Worth deadline.