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Attorney: Probation advised in MySpace suicide

Officials have recommended probation and a $5,000 fine for a woman involved in a MySpace hoax on a 13-year-old girl who committed suicide, the woman's attorney said Monday.
Internet Suicide
Lori Drew, left, was convicted in November of three misdemeanor accounts of accessing computers without authorization.Nick Ut / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A Missouri mother involved in a MySpace hoax on a 13-year-old neighbor girl who committed suicide should be placed on probation for one year and fined $5,000 for her misdemeanor convictions, probation officials recommended.

The recommendation was included in court documents filed Sunday by Lori Drew's attorney, Dean Steward.

Drew could face up to three years in prison and a $300,000 fine on three counts of accessing computers without authorization. A jury convicted her in November, but Steward has asked U.S. District Court Judge George Wu to throw out the verdicts.

Prosecutors wouldn't comment but will likely file a response before Drew's scheduled sentencing on May 18.

Created fictitious teen boy
Prosecutors said Drew violated MySpace service rules by helping create a fictitious teen boy on the social networking site and sending flirtatious messages from him to Megan Meier, a neighbor in suburban St. Louis.

The fake boy then dumped Megan in a message saying the world would be better without her. She hanged herself a short time later.

Jurors found Drew was not guilty of the more serious felonies of intentionally causing emotional harm while accessing computers without authorization. The jury could not reach an unanimous verdict on a felony conspiracy charge.

Drew was not directly charged with causing Megan's death. The trial was held in Los Angeles because the servers of the social networking site are in the area.

Steward said in his court filing that Drew can't pay the $5,000 fine because she no longer draws income from the coupon book business she had for nine years. Drew stopped working in November 2007 because of the case.

Brick thrown through window
Steward also said Drew has been harassed by neighbors and has received threatening letters in the mail. A brick was thrown through a window at the family house, Steward said.

"The harassment from neighbors in O'Fallon, Mo., was vicious and nonstop, until the Drews moved from the neighborhood some months back," Steward wrote.

Steward doesn't want Megan's mother, Tina Meier, or other family members or friends to speak at the sentencing hearing. MySpace, not Megan's family, is the victim in this case, he said.

"Bottom line, it's still a computer fraud case," Steward said.

A message left for Tina Meier was not immediately returned Monday.