GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – Greenville Police Department officials announced Friday morning that they have charged two prisoners in a sextortion scheme last year, which resulted in a local veteran committing suicide.
“We now know that at the time of his death, Jared was the victim of a blackmail scheme,” said Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller.
According to Miller, the two prisoners — John Dobbins Jr. of North Charleston and Carl Smith Jr. of Simpsonville, North Carolina — were posing as the parents of an underage girl, accusing 24-year-old veteran Jared Johns of having an inappropriate conversation with their daughter.
Police said Dobbins and Smith texted Johns from inside Lee Correctional Institution by using contraband cell phones.
“We believe these two inmates conversed with Jared via a dating app, sent images of scantily clad women, and then followed up with demands for money,” said Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller.
Police said Johns shot himself inside his Greenville home in September after believing he was going to be accused of a serious crime baring life-long consequences.
Johns who was honorably discharged after serving in Afghanistan, was also a father of two.
“We were given a life sentence when he died. We are going to suffer for the rest of our lives for our son’s death,” said Kathy Bowling, Johns’ mother.
Bryan Stirling, Director of the Department of Corrections made a push Friday to enourage lawmakers to allow cell phone jammers in prison, making it impossible for inmates to get a cell signal from inside the facility.
“No one has given me a reason – a good reason – why we can’t jam cell phones,” Stirling said.
Johns’ father, Kevin Johns, expressed desire to push for the legislation in order to help future potential victims.
“Us hopefully going to washington to speak, maybe it will get out there and it won’t happen to anybody else,” he said.
Johns’ case was part of a massive sextortion scheme that targeted more than 400 servicemembers across the country, investigators announced at a Fall press conference in Columbia.
Hear the full news conference below: