David Lee Simpson, N.Y. man, arrested after allegedly threatening anchors Nancy Grace, Jane Velez-Mitchell via Twitter

CNN Headline News host Nancy Grace arrives at the Orange County Courthouse for the trial of Casey Anthony, Tuesday, May 24, 2011.
Joe Burbank

(CBS/AP) PHOENIX - A New York man is in an Arizona jail on charges he made online threats against cable newscasters Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell because he was upset with their coverage of the Jodi Arias trial.

Maricopa County Sheriff's officers transported David Lee Simpson, 48, of Bath, N.Y., to Phoenix, and he was booked into jail Wednesday evening. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said investigators found guns, handcuffs and other items in Simpson's car after he was arrested by Bath police and one of Arpaio's deputies who traveled there. Investigators also discovered two knives, several cell phones, zip ties and a police scanner, reported.

Simpson threatened the anchors via Twitter, and the Sheriff's office began investigating him in June, the website reports. According to CBS affiliate KPHO, Simpson tweeted, of Velez-Mitchell and Grace, that he wanted to tie them to a tree naked and leave them all night to suffer before "slitting their throats."

Simpson waived extradition and arrived in Phoenix Wednesday evening, KPHO reports. After his flight landed, Simpson allegedly told his deputy escort that he had placed three pipe bombs in a Pennsylvania river, the station reports.

"We feel this was a very dangerous character," Arpaio reportedly said after Simpson was booked.

Simpson was previously indicted in Arizona on three counts of computer tampering and two counts of stalking. Court records indicate Simpson does not yet have an attorney.

Arpaio on Wednesday announced Simpson's arrest, saying he was infatuated with Arias and became upset by comments that Grace and Velez-Mitchell made about her murder trial.

The sheriff originally said he wouldn't release the TV anchors' names because Turner Broadcasting had asked his agency to withhold their identities. But Arpaio released a statement Wednesday that identified Grace and Velez-Mitchell as the target of the threats Simpson is accused of making on Twitter.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Brandon Jones said the anchors' names were released because a news organization had already identified them as the victims.

"I like to think we stopped this guy from harming the news people," Arpaio said in a news conference, reported.

A Turner Broadcasting official declined to comment on any aspect of the case. Simpson was indicted in Arizona on three counts of computer tampering and two counts of stalking. He also is accused of threatening a Phoenix woman who defended the anchors online.

Court records show he does not yet have a lawyer.

It wasn't immediately clear why Arpaio's office has jurisdiction in the case.

Earlier this year, a Maricopa County jury convicted Arias of murdering former boyfriend Travis Alexander, but jurors later deadlocked in the sentencing phase of her trial. A new jury could be impaneled to decide sometime in late September whether Arias should be sentenced to death or life in prison.


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