Social media influencer plotted to take internet domain at gunpoint. It didn’t end well
The plan was like a bad movie script – complete with an attacker in a puzzling outfit and a backup weapon.
The intruder entered a victim’s home in Iowa carrying a cell phone, a stolen gun and a Taser. On his head was pantyhose and a hat, along with dark sunglasses to mask his eyes, court documents show.
But things did not go as planned.
Now, Rossi Lorathio Adams II could face two decades in prison. A jury found him guilty Thursday of hiring the intruder to break into the house in Cedar Rapids in 2017 to force the transfer of an internet domain at gunpoint, according to the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Iowa.
Threats and gun emojis
Adams, 26, founded a social media company called “State Snaps” four years ago. The company operates on various social media platforms, including Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter, court documents said.
“At one time, Adams had over a million followers on his social media sites, which mostly contained images and videos of young adults engaged in crude behavior, drunkenness and nudity,” court documents said.
His followers often used the slogan “Do it for state” when posting videos and images. So, Adams tried to purchase the internet domain “doitforstate.com” from a Cedar Rapids resident who owned it, court records said. But the owner did not want to part with it.
“Between 2015 and 2017, Adams repeatedly tried to obtain ‘doitforstate.com,’ but the owner of the domain would not sell it. Adams also threatened one of the domain owner’s friends with gun emojis after the friend used the domain to promote concerts,” court records show.
Then he had an idea: Why not take it by force?
Cousin sentenced to 20 years
In June 2017, Adams enlisted his cousin to break into the domain owner’s home and force him to transfer it. The cousin drove to the domain owner’s house and provided a demand note, which contained instructions for transferring the domain to Adams, court records show.
After entering the home, the intruder grabbed the victim’s arm and ordered him to connect his computer to the internet.
He put the firearm against the victim’s head and ordered him to follow the instructions. “Fearing for his life, the victim quickly turned to move the gun away from his head. The victim then managed to gain control of the gun,” court records show.
The victim shot the intruder multiple times and called the police.
The intruder, Adams’ cousin Sherman Hopkins Jr., was sentenced to 20 years in prison last year.
Now it’s Adams’ turn. He will remain in custody pending sentencing. He faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.