“He clearly doesn’t have a sense of what he’s doing to people,” Bob says of Heymann. “And this isn’t the first time.”
The pressure that Aaron was under was not unique. In 2008, Jonathan James, the juvenile hacker Heymann had convicted in 2000 at the age of 16, found himself again under suspicion. At the time, Heymann was leading an investigation into the largest identity-theft ring in U.S. history, and James was implicated. He was never charged, but Secret Service agents ransacked his home and put a tracking device on his car.
On May 18 of that year, he was found dead in his home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. In his suicide note, he wrote that he’d become convinced that he would be scapegoated as a key member of the hacker ring because of his past conviction. “The feds play dirty,” he wrote.
STAR: Yeah, so not only did the Boston Herald and other papers slander me on the day, but MIT made a press statement on that same day, before even I know on, and when they definitely did not know what was going on -- doing the same thing. Making a public statement about what had happened. There were no facts available and they were making statements about what had happened, my own school.
XENI: What did they say, Star?
STAR: That my actions were reckless and cause for concern.
XENI: How did that make you feel?
STAR: I didn't know where to go, who to talk to. What I should do. I needed advice from someone. I'm trying to do well in school, here's my school telling the entire world what they think of me without any basis.
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