Heroes of the Storm player faces five years in jail for threatening Blizzard staff with AK-47

By midian182 ยท 28 replies
Jul 25, 2016
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  1. Toxic behavior has been found in online games since they rose to popularity in the mid-to-late nineties. But the punishment for internet threats now brings harsher consequences, as one Californian man who is looking at five years in prison for his actions recently found out.

    The 28-year-old Heroes of the Storm player, Stephen Cebula, is facing federal charges after he threatened to bring an AK-47 to Blizzard Entertainment’s headquarters.

    Sacramento resident Cebula, who was in the Silver bracket of Hots’ ranked ladder leagues, had been handed a chat ban for the messages he’d sent to other players. These included racial slurs, a promise to “bomb the new york twin towers,” and threats to murder and rape other players’ family members. He also talked about a planned attack on Disneyland.

    The chat ban Blizzard imposed on Cebula incensed him even more. He looked up the company’s HQ address and posted the following message on the game developer’s Facebook page: "Careful Blizzard … I live in California and your headquarters is here in California … You keep silencing me in Heroes of the Storm and I may or may not pay you a visit with an AK 47 amongst some other ‘fun’ tools.”

    Following its own investigations, Blizzard reported the incidents to the FBI and the agency arrested Cebula on July 12. The Bureau discovered his address using details from his ISP based on the IP address provided by Blizzard. They also carried out surveillance on his residence before taking Cebula into custody.

    According to court documents, Cebula admitted upon his arrest that the messages were to “scare those whom he had threatened." In an interview with FBI Special Agent Brady Cowan, Cebula also confessed to having sexual fantasies involving his five-year-old niece.

    Cebula is now being held without bail due to his “significant” mental health issues. In addition to facing the “maximum statutory penalty” of five years jail time, he could also be fined $250,000, according to a press release.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    Yeah there unfortunately are a lot of ppl in mobas who are scary toxic. I mute a lot!

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,255   +454

    I find it rather disgusting that we seem to have no problem finding crazies making threats in online video games but finding and arresting terrorists is pretty much impossible.

    Good on Blizzard for reporting this, sounds like the guy has serious issues. What is Facebook doing with those spewing hate and threatening lives on their site?
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    The gamers don't make the west more vibrant. Vibrancy is our strength, after all.
    Misagt likes this.
  5. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    On the bright side, if people with issues like this are posting publicly, their threats are in the open and something can be done about it.
  6. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    Did we really need to know about the sexual fantasies part?
    wastedkill and SirChocula like this.
  7. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 613   +175

    Nothing. I've repeatedly reported hate speech and such only to be told that their investigation shows it doesn't break their community agreement or whatever.

    The best thing about this and the guy won't be able to harm his 5 year old niece now. Sicko!
    lumbeeman likes this.
  8. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,283   +242

    if he has mental health problem, I wonder how he can be fined 250,000$ for offenses he is not responsible. from what I gather from u.s. tv shows and movies, a suspect can be freed if the defense is 'mentally ill/criminally insane'. drawback is incarceration in mental hospital for major crimes and out-patient consult with psychiatrist for minor crimes.
  9. Sancticide

    Sancticide TS Enthusiast Posts: 44   +18

    Uhh, because gamers generally don't play online games through VPN/Tor/layers of proxies/coffee shop internet? Therefore, Blizz had his home IP address. This was shooting fish in a barrel by comparison to hunting terrorists.
    toxicfiend and Reehahs like this.
  10. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    He has not been fined yet, it would be up to that amount in addition to up to the maximum jail time if convicted. As to how, it'll probably be related to criminal intent that the prosecution will likely try to establish as the player himself admitted to the reasons for his action (in the case of inferred death threats to blizzard) and the record of his other threats and abuse. Considering all of his threats were, almost by virtue of simply occurring, premeditated I doubt a insanity plea would float, which have a fairly high burden of proof, higher than criminal intent seems to have anyways. But that's just my opinion on the matter.
    Reehahs and misor like this.
  11. ZiiooiiZ

    ZiiooiiZ TS Rookie

    I think your mistaking criminal prosecution for civil. He is being fined in a civil court case, had this been a criminal court case the best an insanity plea would get you is locked up in a mental institution, not exactly being free. In fact, most are more dangerous than max security prisons, as you have people who don't have any control of their actions or mental state, at least the ones in jail know when they are committing crimes. Imagine solitary confinement for the rest of your life, if your really crazy enough to get out of a court case with that plea that may be what is in store for you. Some people are rehabilitated, or medicated, but very few people make it out of medical institutions after criminal proceedings, at best they are moved into the prison system when there mental issue is stabilized.
    Reehahs likes this.
  12. ZiiooiiZ

    ZiiooiiZ TS Rookie

    The fact that he admitted to this, which had nothing to do with his arrest or anything he threatened online, speaks to his mental state, so yes, it is important for a thorough reporter to report on all of the story, not just the parts that they like.
  13. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    Just spoiled immature kids acting like spoiled immature kids.
    I would have thought this would be about Supercell, not Blizzard.
    Their games are godly frustrating (and awesome).
    wastedkill likes this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,255   +454

    Perhaps... the mental state of this guy clearly was poor enough that he wasn't thinking ahead. Just another angry gamer if you ask me but also happens to be a mentally unstable sicko. But I doubt all those wanting to help out ISIS are clever enough to use VPN, proxy servers, etc. There has been several recent terrorist strikes in the US by people claiming to be working for or sympathetic to ISIS who didn't use any of those technologies. I honestly think they just aren't being taken as seriously, perhaps because of the language they are carefully crafting in a way to not actually make a direct threat. Where this gamer, clearly did.
  15. AntDX316

    AntDX316 TS Rookie

  16. Sean K

    Sean K TS Rookie

    You find we have no problem finding someone who literally leaves a trail back to themselves but we can't find people who don't leave any trail (nevermind that terrorists get killed all the time by drones and such)? Superb logic my friend...lemme guess? Trump supporter!
  17. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Maniac Posts: 302   +132

    Ok...... wtf?!

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,255   +454

    You are quite immature considering you are assuming things about me, you don't even know me. Lets stick the the facts here. The fact is there were plenty of precursors to many of the recent terrorist attacks in the US. Many of these precursors were things the attacker did online. Now I realize this was a completely different scenario, where the potentially affected (Blizzard staff) reported the problem to the FBI. Rather than the watchers (NSA, CIA, etc.), who aren't necessarily in harms way who happen to see these types of threats may not report anything, or the report may be ignored. So why can't we seem to get good intel on a lot of these terrorists not using secure or obscured communication methods and take action? That is what really bothers me.

    Unfortunately, I'm disgusted that at this time, you seem more concerned about my political stance than the massive terrorism problems facing the US and the world.
  19. I can't find in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) the entry for "Total ahole" which is where this guy and many like him probably best fit.
  20. bleh the smcheh

    bleh the smcheh TS Rookie

    And you think tv shows and movies are a good representation for reality? pleading insanity doesn't mean you are freed. you may be committed for an indeterminate period of time. and there is a legal standard that varies from state to state. things like not knowing the difference between right and wrong nor appreciating the nature of your actions. this guy? unless he is severely schizophrenic or something, he knew he was making threats and likely appreciated the nature of his actions. he'll plead and probably get probation with mandatory counseling. I don't know if the sexual fantasy stuff is actually a crime, but I'm sure he won't be left alone with her.
    wastedkill likes this.
  21. TigerPlanet

    TigerPlanet TS Rookie

    Why was his mental illness the deciding factor for him being held without bail? Shouldn't that be based on his actions and statements? That should be enough. This additional bias against his mental illness just furthers stigmas against people suffering from mental illness, people statistically more likely to be victims of violent crimes than perpetrators, and more likely to be prejudicially singled out in the media for their mental illness.
  22. f2Black

    f2Black TS Rookie

    Almost all of these media outlets are re-wording what the fool actually said. No doubt he deserves what he got considering the **** they found,, but why use quotes if it's not the original comment?

    Here is the original comment -

  23. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    Atleast he loves his niece, Gotta give it to the guy now he will be left alone
  24. DAOWAce

    DAOWAce TS Booster Posts: 268   +39

    I think that's even worse.

    The sheer arrogance alongside the threat of mass murder, posting publicly from his personal devices and accounts..

    Then later admitting to want to basically rape his 5 year old niece.

    Yeah, this guy deserves jail without bail and also admission to a mental health clinic.
  25. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 574   +72

    You do realise these "terrorists" aren't assigned an IP Addresses that could be traced to there physical location. When they build bombs they don't assign a mac address and they query a dhcp server...

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