Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man faces 20 years in scheme to steal internet domain doitforstate (dot com)

Jury only deliberated an hour

CEDAR RAPIDS — A man who had his cousin break in to a Cedar Rapids man’s home and force him at gunpoint to transfer an internet domain has been convicted by a federal court jury.

Rossi L. Adams II, 26, of Cedar Rapids, known as “Polo,” was convicted last week of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by force, threats and violence. The jury deliberated about an hour following a four-day trial.

Evidence showed Adams founded a social media company called “State Snaps” while he was a student in 2015 at Iowa State University. State Snaps operates on a variety of social media platforms, including Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. At one time, Adams had over a million followers on his sites, which mostly contained images and videos of young adults engaged in crude behavior, drunkenness and nudity.

His followers used the slogan, “Do It For State!” So Adams tried to purchase the internet domain “doitforstate” (dot com) from a Cedar Rapids man who had registered it with GoDaddy.com.

Between 2015 and 2017, Adams repeatedly tried to get the domain but the owner wouldn’t sell. Adams threatened one of the owner’s friends with “gun emojis” after the friend used the domain to promote concerts.

In June 2017, Adams persuaded his cousin, Sherman Hopkins Jr., 43, to break into the domain owner’s home and force him at gunpoint to transfer the name to Adams. Hopkins was a felon who lived in a homeless shelter at the time.

According to Hopkins’ plea agreement, Hopkins, wearing a hat, sunglasses and pantyhose on his head, was armed with a 9 mm pistol when he broke into the home of Ethan Deyo. Deyo ran upstairs to a bedroom and tried to prevent Hopkins from entering, but Hopkins kicked in the door.

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Hopkins then threatened Deyo with the handgun, forcing him to log onto his computer and transfer “doitforstate” (dot com) to Adams, according to court records.

Hopkins “pistol whipped” Deyo several times and pulled out a Taser to shock him in the arm, back and neck.

At that point, Hopkins became more violent and while holding the gun to Deyo’s head threatened to kill him if the transfer wasn’t correct, court documents show.

Deyo pushed the gun away but was shot in the leg during the struggle. Deyo then got the gun and shot Hopkins multiple times in the chest.

Hopkins, convicted of interference and attempted interference with commerce by threats and violence, was sentenced last year to 20 years in prison.

Adams also faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Sentencing hasn’t been set at this time.

• Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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