Wrong man arrested for fake Facebook threats

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kentwood man served jail time for allegedly making threats against an ex-girlfriend on Facebook — but he didn’t write them.

Andrew Chandler was arrested after someone else created a phony Facebook page using his name and picture.

Andrew Chandler. (March 19, 2014)
(Andrew Chandler. March 19, 2014)

“It can happen to anybody, honestly,” Chandler said.

Chandler was shocked when he was pulled over last summer and told he was being charged with three felonies.

“I just started crying. I’m like, ‘I know it wasn’t me,'” he said.

Mackenzie Maas, Chandler’s ex at the time, had received the messages on Facebook.

“Threatening me, saying he’s going to slice my throat, kill me,” she told 24 Hour News 8.

She thought the threats were coming from Chandler — so she called police.

“I was scared,” she said. “I really thought someone was going to come kill me. I was scared.”

Chandler sat in the Kent County jail for a month, he said, before he bonded out. Even then, he had to wear an electronic tether.

It took police until January to find out another man named Jamal Johnson allegedly created the page from which the threats originated.

Jamal Johnson. (Jan. 30, 2014)
(Jamal Johnson. Jan. 30, 2014)

Chandler says Johnson did it so he could begin a relationship with Maas.

At his home Wednesday, Johnson told 24 Hour News 8 he did not create the Facebook page.

Johnson has been charged with five felonies counts: Identity theft, aggravated stalking, interfering with electronic communications and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime.

“I think the justice system did work. It took some time,” Wyoming Police Department Capt. Kim Koster said.

Police say they had probable cause to file charges because Chandler had a previous domestic violence record with his ex-girlfriend.

Police say it took some time for Facebook to provide information on the page to clear Chandler.

“Anything that you put out there can be tracked, which this shows as well, that we can get that information find out who really sent that,” Koster said.

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