LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Dylan Lee Jarrell, of Lawrenceburg, was sentenced Wednesday to 120 months in federal prison, by United States District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, for making threats to and intimidating two individuals over social media, illegally possessing a firearm in furtherance of one of those threats, and lying to an FBI agent during an investigation.
In May 2018, Jarrell used an anonymous Reddit account to make a series of posts suggesting he was planning a school shooting.
The FBI visited Jarrell’s Lawrenceburg home and questioned him and others about these posts.
Jarrell lied about his internet activities in response to those questions.
Then, over the next few months, Jarrell purchased an AR-15 rifle, a bump stock, high capacity magazines, ammunition, and body armor, each of which he intended to use in a planned attack on Shelby County High School, where he once attended.
Jarrell also considered an alternate plan to murder an individual identified as D.B.
On September 24, 2018, Jarrell used Instagram to send a series of private direct messages to D.B., including a threat to attack D.B. with the AR-15 rifle he possessed at the time.
Lastly, on October 17, 2018, Jarrell sent a series of racially motivated harassing messages to a Facebook account used by a second individual, K.B. That person turned out to be a mom in New Jersey who alerted police. She was later hailed by law enforcement as a hero for helping stop an attack.
Federal and state law enforcement confronted Jarrell on October 18, 2018 and searched his mobile phone, among other things and places. That search revealed evidence of Jarrell’s plans to attack Shelby County High School.
Jarrell was taken into state custody and admitted planning to attack the high school and D.B., and to purchasing the AR-15 rifle as part of his plans.
Jarrell was charged by federal criminal complaint on October 26, 2018 and indicted by federal grand jury on May 2, 2019. He entered guilty pleas to several federal crimes on November 22, 2019.
“Halted by the work of dedicated law enforcement professionals who confronted and stopped him, Dylan Jarrell was intent on committing horrific acts of violence on innocent people,” said Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “The investigation conducted by KSP and FBI personnel almost certainly saved lives. The seriousness of Jarrell’s crimes and the danger he presented to the public certainly justify the sentence he received.”
“Hiding behind anonymous social media accounts to intimidate and threaten others is a prevalent issue in today’s world,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Brown, FBI Louisville Field Office. “After Jarrell lied to federal agents and continued making threats online to both individuals and a school, FBI and KSP investigators successfully intercepted him before a potential mass casualty took place. As this case illustrates, the FBI and our law enforcement partners take online threats seriously and will work together to bring these perpetrators to justice before they harm any citizens of the Commonwealth.”
“Nothing is more paramount to our agency than the safety of Kentucky’s children,” said Rodney Brewer, Commissioner of Kentucky State Police. “We hope this sends a strong message to anyone who would contemplate a harmful act in one of our schools.”
Under federal law, Jarrell must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence; and upon his release, he will be under the supervision of the United States Probation Office for five years.
U.S. Attorney Duncan, James Robert Brown, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Commissioner Brewer jointly announced the sentence.
The FBI and the Kentucky State Police conducted the investigation. The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew T. Boone.