YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Unlike most young men his age, Dave Dorbish spent almost all of the 17th year of his life behind bars.
Dorbish, who’s from Youngstown’s east side, was arrested when he was just 16. He was accused of using his home computer to make terroristic threats against half a dozen communities in five states, which then prompted massive police and fire department responses.
It’s something known in internet circles as “swatting.”
Although no one was ever hurt, the incidents cost those communities nearly $13,000.
Friday, Dorbish received a one-year sentence, but because he’s already been jail since his arrest, he will be free by the end of the day.
As part of Dorbish’s plea agreement, he’ll also have to make restitution.
“What that essentially goes to is costs spent in this matter, for investigative purposes, for response times, things of that nature,” said Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Mike Yacovone.
Instead of pressing for up to 20 years in prison for the 27 counts against him, prosecutors recommended just the year behind bars.
“I’d rather have him under your thumb with 20 years over his head, and that’s for five years community control,” Yacovone said.
Dorbish’s mother said the last couple of years have been a nightmare for the family, but time behind bars has matured her son.
“David being incarcerated has definitely made it a lot harder, but the transformation in him is almost amazing, really,” said Nancy Dorbish.
Local law enforcement officers hope others will learn from Dorbish’s experience.
“It has caused a loss of life by accident in certain situations, and it’s just, it’s really wrong and messages do need to be sent,” said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene.
John Elberty, commander of the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force’s SWAT team, has said beyond the expense from the calls, the situation can escalate quickly. This was the case in a scenario that played out two years ago in Wichita, Kansas, leading to the death of an innocent man.