Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

DA: Philly teen admits to using Twitter for witness intimidation

Nasheen Anderson
Nasheen Anderson

A teen accused of using his Twitter account to post confidential court documents waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday in Family Court and admitted to witness intimidation and making terroristic threats, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

Nasheen Anderson, 17, took to the social media site to post secret grand jury court documents and photos outing witnesses of two shootings last year and a homicide in 2007, sources told The Daily News last month. A police report related to one of the shootings was captioned "expose all rats."

The District Attorney's Office initially sought to try Anderson as an adult due to the severity of the crime and the "near-epidemic levels" witness intimidation has reached in Philadelphia.

But Family Court Judge Kevin Dougherty denied the Commonwealth's request and instead adjudicated the teen delinquent.

Investigators first came across the offending account in late October, shortly after Anderson posted court documents about a drive-by shooting last June in Southwest Philadelphia. The documents included photos of victims, witness statements and the suspect's affidavit.

After confirming the account belonged to Anderson, officers on Nov. 12 pulled the teen from a classroom at Martin Luther King High and took him into custody.

It wasn't Anderson's first brush with the law - he was arrested twice in the past for robbery and theft. Anderson's mother in 2011 filed a federal complaint against the city and Philadelphia police, claiming her son was brutalized and falsely arrested after officers suspected him of a shooting in Southwest Philadelphia. A jury ruled against the Andersons, and a subsequent appeal was denied.

Anderson, of East Germantown, is next due in court Dec. 16 for sentencing. It is still unclear how he obtained the court documents, as grand jury proceedings are supposed to be kept secret in a bid to avoid such instances of intimidation.

Investigators said that contrary to previous media reports, Anderson's arrest is not related to the rats215 Instagram account, which drew national attention after it was found to have posted the identities of more than 30 crime witness before authorities shut it down last month. Officials with the Criminal Intelligence Unit are continuing to investigate that case. Prosecutors said Anderson isn't facing charges for any involvement with the Instagram intimidation.

Alex Wigglesworth For Philly.com
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