Known as “smart, blunt, and plainspoken,” Mr. Herring had been a lifelong computer enthusiast who joined Twitter in March 2007, less than a year after the service was launched, according to his family.
He was aware that people were interested in his handle, which he chose because of his affection for the state in which he was born and raised, and had turned down offers of $3,000 to $4,000 to sell it, according to his daughter Corinna Fitch, 37, who spoke with the Associated Press.
“He’d laugh it off and say, ‘I’m not selling that,'” she recalled him saying.
One month before his death, Mr. Herring was with his three daughters and their families at a Sunday dinner hosted by his ex-wife, Fran Herring, who had remained friends with Mr. Herring throughout his life.
Mr. Herring would frequently visit Ms. Herring while she was caring for the grandchildren, and he would assist her in bathing and putting them to bed.
Ms. Fitch explained that the children referred to him as “Graggie” because they were unable to say “granddaddy.”
“Graggie time” was the term he used to describe the time he spent with his grandchildren.
“It was the most precious time of his life,” Ms. Fitch explained.
Mr. Herring was one of at least a half-dozen people who were targeted by Mr. Sonderman and his “co-conspirators,” who used fictitious online accounts to find social media users with catchy names, according to prosecutors. Mr. Sonderman and his “co-conspirators” were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Mr. Sonderman and his associates would then contact the owners of those domain names and request that they surrender their rights to them so that they could sell them.
According to prosecutors, if they refused, “Sonderman and his co-conspirators would bombard the owner with repeated phone calls and text messages in a campaign of harassment,” according to the complaint.