U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of West Virginia
(304) 345-2200
December 14, 2015

Former Marshall Running Back Sentenced in Federal Court for Cyberstalking

HUNTINGTON, WV—A 23-year old former Marshall University running back from Hollywood, Florida, was sentenced today in federal court in Huntington, West Virginia, to two years in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Booth Goodwin. Kevin LaShawn Grooms, Jr., previously pleaded guilty in September of 2015 to cyberstalking. After Grooms is released from prison, he will be on supervised release for three years.

Grooms admitted to using a cell phone to send threatening messages to his ex-girlfriend beginning on March 24, 2015, and continuing into the early hours of the next day. Grooms sent the threatening messages using Instagram and text. Grooms further admitted that his conduct placed his ex-girlfriend in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury, and caused her to suffer substantial emotional distress. An investigation conducted by the Federal of Bureau of Investigation revealed that Grooms sent 158 messages to his ex-girlfriend within 8 hours of being released from the Western Regional Jail on March 24, 2015. Grooms was under a Domestic Violence Protection Order at the time he sent the messages. The messages sent by Grooms consisted of photographs and attached messages that mocked the strength of domestic restraining orders and repeatedly threatened his ex-girlfriend.

Grooms met his ex-girlfriend in September of 2012, when they were both enrolled at Marshall University. Grooms admitted to engaging in a pattern of activity that included stalking, threatening the use of a deadly weapon, and harassing and assaulting his ex-girlfriend throughout their relationship.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin stated, “Those who use modern technology to stalk, threaten, and harass need to understand the seriousness of the crime. We will continue to investigate and prosecute these offenses. We will not tolerate such dangerous intimidation.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Huntington Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Lisa Johnston handled the prosecution.

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