The Fate of Shawn Payton

I wonder what these two think of the 'Shawn Payton Saga'. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

On January 28, I linked to a nola.com story about one interestingly named Detroit Lions fan, Shawn Payton, whom law enforcement officials had questioned in relation to a pair of threatening phone calls made to the Louisiana Superdome during the Saints-Lions playoff game on Wild Card Saturday.

Well, it's now two weeks later, and the Wheels of Justice have continued turning. Friday saw an update of Shawn Payton's legal status appear from the Associated Press on the sunherald.com (Biloxi-Gulfport and South Mississippi's news leader).

Given the interest this drew the first time around (at least from me), I feel it is my blogger-journalistic duty to stay on top of this story and keep you apprised of the details of it.

Make the jump for more...

So, the big development is that Payton (Shawn) has now actually been indicted by a federal grand jury:

A Michigan man was indicted Friday by a federal grand jury on a charge he phoned in a bomb threat to the Superdome during the New Orleans Saints' playoff win over the Detroit Lions in January.

The article spells out the actual charges and the worst-case scenario the confessed perpetrator's facing...

Shawn H. Payton, 34, of Jackson, Mich., is charged with one count of sending threatening communications through interstate commerce, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

...and lays out what will happen next.

The FBI arrested Payton last month on a criminal complaint. He was freed on bond. Payton is scheduled to make his initial court appearance in New Orleans on Feb. 14.

Something this article also provides us with is a statement from 'Johnny Law' that may lend some insight into how the authorities are treating this situation.

"We will not tolerate anyone causing the waste of our precious law enforcement resources or the potential panic of our citizens through the communication of threats," U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said in a statement.

A little research showed that Paul Purpura of nola.com also reported on this story in the New Orleans Metro Crime and Courts News section.

I then tried to find some local/regional coverage to add more personal information and/or context to this ongoing story and only found old stuff with any information not already covered in the sunherald.com AP piece quoted above...

The Detroit Free Press had a quote from Shawn Payton in their January 30 article:

The defendant, Shawn Payton, 34, a former Hillsdale resident, told the Free Press he meant no harm and regrets his actions.

"I feel horrible. I wish I never did it. It was a stupid phone call," said Payton, who was released on bond and ordered to appear in federal court in New Orleans on Feb. 14

Jackson County, Mississippi's mlive.com reported Payton's documented legal history on January 28.

Payton said he has never done anything like that before. In Jackson County, Payton pleaded guilty to domestic violence in 2007, assault and battery in 2001 and larceny and retail fraud in 1998, according to court records.

* * *

OK, now you know what kind of maximum penalty this guy's facing, and if you click through the links I provided, you can read Shawn Payton's quotes and comments on his actions, as well as learn some of his history.

What do you think should happen to this guy, and what do you think actually will happen to him? Armchair psychology is also fun: is he a true telephone terrorist, or just a schmuck who screwed up, or is he someone who has serious rage and anger management issues and really needs help to understand that this kind of thing is not appropriate?

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