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June 16, 2018

Iowa man gets 20-year prison sentence for trying to steal a domain at gunpoint

by John_A

Sherman Hopkins Jr. of Iowa found out that armed robbery doesn’t pay. Hopkins was sentenced Thursday, June 14, to 20 years in prison for using a gun in his attempt to hijack a domain during a 2017 home break-in. Although domain hijacking is described as the illegal change of a domain’s registration without the permission of the original registrant, Hopkins took it one step further by using a gun in his attempt to steal the “doitforstate.com” domain from 26-year-old Iowa resident Ethan Deyo.

The incident occurred last year when 43-year-old Hopkins broke into Deyo’s home. As part of the home invasion robbery, Hopkins had hoped to use his firearm to coerce Deyo to transfer the domain to him, but things went wrong quickly.

After Deyo spotted Hopkins, he locked himself in a room, but Hopkins kicked the door down. Deyo was subsequently shot in the leg when he attempted to wrestle the firearm away from Hopkins. Eventually, Deyo gained control of the gun, and Hopkins was shot in the chest multiple times, Motherboard reported.

The Linn County District Attorney’s Office had initially charged Hopkins with multiple crimes as a result of the incident, including possession of a firearm by a felon, the use of a firearm during a violent crime, and kidnapping. However, Hopkins pleaded to a lesser charge of one count of interference and attempted interference with commerce by threats and violence in December.

At the time of the incident, Cedar Rapids police only described the domain as being “valuable,” and it’s unclear why Hopkins had put forth all that effort in an attempt to gain control of doitforstate.com. “‘Do it for state’ is a recently minted turn of phrase that seems to have emerged out of frat culture at Iowa State University in 2017 and found a home on social media,” Motherboard reported. The similarly named @doitforstate_og Twitter account describes itself as “the authority on parting, college life, and fun.”

Although the doitforstate.com website doesn’t currently appear to be up right now, an old web snapshot of the site shows that the doitforstate.com dates back to January 2015. The snapshot revealed that at one point, the website had linked to the @doitforstate Twitter handle, which is owned by Iowa recording company Elite Sound and Design Studios. It’s unclear what connection Elite Sound and Design Studios has to Hopkins and the home invasion robbery.

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