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

Former Marshall University Football Running Back Pleads Guilty to Cyberstalking

HUNTINGTON, WV—A 23-year old former Marshall University running back from Hollywood, Florida pleaded guilty today in federal court in Huntington to cyberstalking, announced United States Attorney Booth Goodwin. Kevin LaShawn Grooms, Jr. entered a guilty plea before Chief United States District Court Judge Robert C. Chambers.

Grooms admitted to using a cell phone beginning on March 24, 2015, and continuing to the early hours of the next day to send threatening messages to his ex-girlfriend. Grooms sent the threatening messages via Instagram and text. Grooms’ 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 threatening messages. The messages sent by Grooms consisted of photographs and attached messages that mocked the strength of domestic restraining orders, threatened his ex-girlfriend, and claiming his no-fear readiness to die.

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 including stalking, threatening the use of a deadly weapon, harassing and assaulting his ex-girlfriend throughout their relationship.

The court scheduled a sentencing hearing for Grooms on December 14, 2015. He faces a prison sentence of two years, followed by three years of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin stated, “We are committed to working closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute those who use modern technology to stalk, threaten, and harass. Technology is wonderful but we will not allow it to be used as a dangerous weapon.”

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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