PHOENIX (CBS5) -Phoenix police and Arizona Department of Corrections investigators are looking into a series of death threats that are originating from the Facebook page of a state prison inmate.
Facebook may face prosecution over teenager's suicide
Like many girls her age, Italian teenager Carolina Picchio shared her pictures, thoughts and emotions on Facebook.
But after a video of the 14-year-old allegedly showed up on Facebook in which she appeared to be drunk and disoriented at a party, social media became a source of torment.
"It was from a Facebook message, a direct message from the person who was threatening me," said the man who received the threats. CBS 5 Investigates agreed to conceal his identity because he fears for his life.
The threats were graphic and specific, peppered with foul language.
"I am going to come and F-ing stab the S- out of you, you piece of S-," read one of the lines.
Another message sent to the victim's work Facebook page read, "I am going to F-ing stab that piece of S- over 25 times. I am going to murder him."
The victim told CBS 5 Investigates he did not recognize the name of the inmate who appeared to be sending the messages but later realized they went to the same grade school.
The inmate, whose name CBS 5 Investigates is not releasing because police have not called him a suspect, is serving his fifth stint in prison, having been convicted of at least eight felonies. Convictions include theft, drug dealing and weapons violations.
"Now it was becoming more real. Yeah, this guy was a prisoner, and when you delved deeper, he was in there for some serious crimes," said the victim.
The Arizona Department of Corrections has an ongoing investigation into the source of the threats, but a spokesman for DOC said inmates do not have access to the internet while behind bars.
"Our experience in investigations in the past has shown that most of the Facebook activity that you see among inmates is actually done by people on the outside," said Doug Nick, who is the director of communications for DOC.
But one former inmate, who spoke to CBS 5 Investigates on condition of anonymity, said it is common for inmates to have access to smuggled cell phones and smartphones.
"They could purchase it off the street. Somebody could deliver it to their work area or it could be brought onto the yard through visitation from family or from the guards," the former inmate said.
Through a spokesman, Phoenix police said they are not calling the inmate a suspect in this case.
In an email to CBS 5 Investigates, the spokesman wrote, "We have been working with the prison and there is no evidence at this time to suggest the person named is a suspect. This person may be the victim of an identity theft."
But a look at the inmate's Facebook page shows it is updated almost daily, with complaints about life behind bars, pictures of women taken from the internet and links to internet articles. On Oct. 15, there is a post threatening the victim's life.
Meanwhile, the victim is left watching the clock and wondering if law enforcement is going to figure out where the threat is coming from.
"I understand he gets out on Jan. 8," said the victim.