South Carolina Inmates Charged With Extorting Veteran Before He Took His Own Life

Two South Carolina prison inmates have been charged for blackmail they allegedly carried out from inside prison—a “sextortion” scheme that authorities say ended in the suicide of the Army veteran they targeted. Using contraband cellphones, the inmates, John William Dobbins and Carl Richard Smith, allegedly posed as the parents of a fictional teenage girl they claimed had sent Army veteran Jared Johns explicit photos. “We now know that at the time of his death Jared was the victim of a blackmail scheme that was created by inmates in a South Carolina prison, which created sufficient mental anguish to cause Jared to believe that he was going to be accused of serious crime with lifelong implications," Police Chief Ken Miller said Friday. The inmates, posing as the parents, told Johns he had to pay $1,189, otherwise they would go to the police over the supposed sexually explicit photographs. Their last text message to Johns was allegedly sent just minutes before he took his own life on Sept. 11, 2018. Johns' parents said their son suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving, and the condition left him unable to cope with the threats.