Last year we told you about The Smoking Gun's expose of a group of Internet "pranksters" that included a couple of Texas residents.
Some of what they did was fun, but some bordered on harassment and members of the group, called Pranknet, would engage in homophobic and racist diatribes.
One of the members highlighted by TSG was James Tyler Markle, 20, of Diboll.
Among his efforts: calling a local McDonalds posing as someone in authority and convincing an employee to actiivate the sprinkler system and break out several windows, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
A judge has sentenced Markle to five years in prison, although it's likely he will get shock probation.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Shock probation could come in 90 to 120 days, the judge indicated.
KTRE reports that Markle was visibly upset with the sentence, and his great-aunt couldn't understand why the judge was so harsh. It was the Internet's fault, she said:
"Today's decision was very tough for the family," said Markle's great aunt, Betty Barkley. "Of course, we had prayed for probation for Tyler because he is a very nice, respectful young man."
Although Markle has taken responsibility for his actions, his family says the Internet is partially to blame.
"I've been upset with the Internet for a long time," Barkley said. "There's just too many things out there that you can do, things that you can find."
Internet, consider yourself warned.