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YouTube video post a crime, or just free speech? Ga. man claimed to be serial killer

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AP

(CBS/WGCL/AP) ATLANTA - Authorities say Andrew Scott Haley posted a provocative online video on YouTube that disrupted investigations in the disappearances of two women.

Haley's lawyer argued before the Georgia Supreme Court Monday to overturn his conviction, on the grounds of free speech.

Haley was charged in 2009 with posting a video on YouTube under the moniker "catchmekiller" in which he claimed to have killed 16 people and suggested he had information about two  crimes in Florida and Georgia. He was convicted of tampering with evidence and making false statements to law enforcement.

Georgia prosecutors charged him under a statute that criminalizes knowingly and willingly make false statements that can disrupt state investigations. Haley's defense team asked the court to strike down the law, claiming it was flawed because it doesn't distinguish between a false statement and a fraudulent one.

His lawyers said what Haley did may have been in poor taste, but that authorities turned a "fiction writer into a felon," and his free speech rights were violated, reported CBS affiliate WGCL

One of the postings included a reference to Tara Grinstead, who disappeared in 2005 from her home in Ocilla, Ga., in the southern part of the state. He never identified her by name, but prosecutors said he clearly referred to her by citing her background as a teacher and a former beauty queen.

"Who is she? What does she do? You answer me this, and I will give you her body. She was still wearing her favorite pair of jeans but not her beauty queen silk," he said in the video, which also included a fictitious address without an explanation.

Haley also claimed to have information on the unsolved 2006 disappearance of Jennifer Kesse, an Orlando woman whose father received a link to the video from Haley, along with the message: "Maybe I can help."

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation spent hundreds of hours trying to track down the video's maker before finding Haley in Gainesville, Ga.  Authorities concluded he had nothing to do with either woman's disappearance, or any killings.

  • Camille Mann

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