The jail escape of convicted spammer Edward "Eddie" Davidson has ended in tragedy, with Davidson, his wife and daughter all found dead in Colorado in an apparent murder-suicide.
As we reported earlier in the week, Davidson escaped from a low-security prison last weekend after serving less than two months of a 21-month sentence for sending spam designed to pump up stock values.
Authorities apparently had no idea of Davidson's location until reports of shots being fired at a house formerly occupied by Davidson. Local media reported that investigating police discovered the body of Davidson and his wife (who had been visiting the prison when Davidson walked out) outside their car, and the body of their three-year old daughter inside the car. The couple's eight month old son was still alive in the car.
According to news reports, before he was put in prison, Davidson was an easy-going neighbour, though he could be overbearing with pushing his religious views on people, despite his involvement in illegal activities.
"What a nightmare, and such a coward," U.S. Attorney Troy Eid said in a statement. "Davidson imposed the 'death penalty' on family members for his own crime."
Judge Marcia Krieger had reportedly ordered Davidson to take therapy at the time of his sentencing, after he made a statement that he was under significant stress from the prosecution. "He has some difficulty due to his diagnosis of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in focusing on all of his responsibilities, and he obviously has some unresolved issues with regard to his childhood and how he was raised that he believes impair his ability to make good decisions in the future," she said while delivering her verdict.
Sadly, the reason he was put in the minimum security prison that he escaped from was that the judge wanted him to be able to keep a good relationship with his two young children, one of which he murdered.
The case highlights the increasingly criminal nature of spamming, and the possible risks involved even for people who get rich from promulgating it (Davidson made a reputed $3.5 million from his email activities). Spamming is routinely identified both as a means of funding other criminal activity and as a distribution mechanism for malware designed to steal personal information.
Davidson apparently spent the spoils of his spamming on platinum and gold coins, among other luxuries.