A Maryland man was arrested on a cyberstalking charge after sending a strobe image to a person whom he knew suffered from epilepsy, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
John Rayne Rivello, 29, of Salisbury was arrested Friday in Maryland after sending a message via Twitter to Dallas reporter Kurt Eichenwald on Dec. 15, 2016, officials said. The tweet contained an animated strobe image embedded with the statement, “You deserve a seizure for your post.”
Upon viewing the flashing strobe image, Eichenwald immediately suffered a seizure, according to a criminal complaint.
According to the affidavit, evidence showed Rivello’s Twitter account contained direct messages from Rivello’s account to other Twitter users concerning the victim. Among those direct messages included statements by Rivello, including “I hope this sends him into a seizure,” “Spammed this at [victim] let’s see if he dies” and “I know he has epilepsy.”
Authorities said Rivello’s iCloud account contained a screenshot of a Wikipedia page for the victim, which had been altered to show a fake obituary with the date of death listed as Dec. 16, 2016.
The account also contained screen shots from epilepsy.com with a list of commonly reported epilepsy seizure triggers and from dallasobserver.com discussing the victim’s report to the Dallas Police Department and his attempt to identify the Twitter user.
The image was apparently sent in response to Eichenwald’s outspoken criticism of then-President-elect Donald Trump. Eichenwald thanked federal and Dallas law enforcement for the break in the case.
Attorney information for Rivello was not immediately available.