When Rossi Lorathio Adams II, 26, came up with his website StateSnaps, he quickly became a cultural influencer because of its salacious content. The site featured videos of young Black folk engaged in outrageous behavior by culling content from Snapchat, Facebook and other social media platforms. Now Adams is facing up to 20 years in prison for orchestrating a bizarre crime over domain name registration.
Adams was a student at Iowa State University when he came up with the idea of State Snaps. At its height, the site had over one million followers in 2015. Based on the increasing numbers Adams tried to register the domain name doitforstate.com, however, the name was already registered to another person. For the next two years, Adams attempted to buy the domain but was unsuccessful. Frustrated, he decided that violence was a better option. According to federal prosecutors, he hired his homeless cousin, Sherman Hopkins Jr. to be the strong man in a strange plan.
Hopkins broke into the victim’s residence and discovered him hiding in his bedroom. Court documents state that Hopkins dragged the man to his home office and began pistol-whipping him. He then gave the victim a detailed set of instructions to transfer the domain ownership on godaddy.com to Adams. The victim got into a struggle with Hopkins and managed to shoot his attacker three times in the chest. The victim also suffered a gunshot wound to his leg. Hopkins was arrested and pleaded guilty to his crime. He is currently serving a 20-year sentence.
Adams was found guilty on Thursday, April 18, 2019, after one hour of jury deliberation. He was convicted on charges of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by force, threats and violence during a trial that lasted four days.