Rossi Lothario Adams II, founder of a social media company called “State Snaps” is facing a 20-year sentence and a $250,000 fine after a jury found him guilty of hiring his cousin for a gunpoint robbery of a web domain.
The 26-year-old man operated on various social media platforms as an ‘influencer’. By sharing images and videos of young adults “engaged in crude behavior, drunken and naked” he had been able at one point to reach 1.5 million followers. The leitmotif of the videos was Adams’ signature catchphrase: “Do it for State” used by his followers when posting. At this point, Adams, already in posses of the domain “doit4state.com” became very interested in acquiring another domain name – “doitforstate.com” – owned by a Cedar Rapids resident, referred to as “E.D.” in the official documents.
Between 2015 and 2017 Adams repeatedly tried, without success, to convince E.D. to give up the domain in his favor. Tension grows, as Adams saw this as an obstacle between him and social media glory. The attempts at getting the domain, far from being diplomatic – with personal visits to E.D. and threatening messages – culminate in a full-fledged criminal plan.
In June 2017 Adams hired his cousin, Sherman Hopkins Jr. (a felon with several past run-ins with the law), to forcefully take possession of the domain. He handed to Hopkins a stolen gun, a taser, and the instructions for passing the domain to his name.
Armed and masked with pantyhose over his face, hat and sunglasses Hopkins breaks in E.D.’s apartment and commands E.D. to start the domain transfer procedures. He pistol-whips E.D. and uses the taser several times on him, as written in the court’s documents, eventually dragging him in front of the computer and pointing the gun to his head.
Eventually, E.D. rolls his head away from the gun, manages to take its control, shoots the robber several times in the chest, and calls the police.
Hopkins, who survived the shooting, was sentenced to 20 years a year ago. Adams’ turn is this year: he is facing a sentence of up to 20 years in jail, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.