Man accused of stalking, threatening HLN’s Nancy Grace, Jane Velez-Mitchell


David Lee Simpson

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NEW YORK — A New York man who investigators say was infatuated with convicted killer Jodi Arias threatened to kill HLN anchors Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell, authorities said Wednesday.

The names of the anchors who appear on CNN’s sister network were released by the Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff’s department after the arrest of David Lee Simpson, 48.

Simpson was arrested in Bath, New York, after his indictment last week by a grand jury in Phoenix on charges of stalking and computer tampering.

After he was indicted, “Simpson quit his job, and was driving out of Bath heading south when he was stopped by law enforcement,” according to a statement released by the sheriff’s office.

A search of Simpson’s car turned up several guns, shotgun ammunition, handcuffs, zip-ties, binoculars, a knife and a police radio, the statement said.

Simpson has waived extradition and will be taken to the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona this week, the statement said.

It was not immediately clear whether Simpson had retained representation.

CNN, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, is not commenting on the case.

Velez-Mitchell and Grace were allegedly targeted because of their coverage of the Arias trial.

Arias was convicted in May of first-degree murder for killing her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. A jury deadlocked on whether she should be sentenced to death.

Simpson purportedly made threats on Twitter before and after the trial.

He threatened to tie the anchorwomen to a “tree naked and leave them to suffer all night” and then “slit their throats,” according to the sheriff’s office statement.

He also is accused of threatening a Phoenix woman who defended the anchorwomen on Twitter.

“Journalists are too often the targets of potentially violent, overzealous viewers,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

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