Late last week, the FBI arrested 32-year-old Jessica Leigh Robbins of Tampa for allegedly harassing Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell online and charged her with stalking. Tampa Bay Times reports that Cornell and his wife believed that Robbins entered their Miami home last year and, more recently, pulled their children out of New York public schools out of fear that the woman would hurt them.
Robbins posted the $50,000 bail, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas G. Wilson ordered her to wear an ankle bracelet and stay offline, since FBI Special Agent Bradford Price wrote in his complaint that she used the Internet to threaten the family with “fear of death or serious bodily injury.” Wilson also requested the woman submit to psychiatric evaluation, The Tampa Tribune reported, and barred her from having any contact with the Cornells or his band and forbade her from going within 1,000 feet of Soundgarden’s Tampa show on August 11th. The group, which recently reissued its Superunknown album, is currently in the middle of a North American tour with co-headliner Nine Inch Nails.
The arrest came after Soundgarden’s web administrator tendered the FBI with a collection of antagonistic tweets and posts that were believed to be written by Robbins, the Times reported. The admin claimed that Robbins posted more than 100 such messages a day using at least 37 different user names on social media sites. Price wrote that he was able to trace some posts to the IP address of Robbins’ mother, with whom she lives. He said the content of other posts suggested she wrote them.
One such post described driving seven hours to try and meet Cornell, but being unable to since the post’s author did not have the elevator key to his Miami home. Price wrote that the Cornells “became concerned for their safety because, among other reasons, their residence in Miami has an elevator that requires a key and because Miami is approximately a seven-hour drive from Tampa, Florida, where Robbins is believed to reside.”
Price reported that Robbins had helped out at a Soundgarden fan event a few years ago and when it was done, she had run toward the frontman, yelling his name and asking if a manuscript she had written was helpful. Cornell didn’t know what she was talking about, but later discovered videos online in which Robbins claimed the singer had plagiarized her writing. Additionally, she claimed to be the mother of one of the Cornells’ children, according to Tampa Bay Times.
The agent reported that he also found evidence that Robbins’ phone was used to report Cornell’s wife, Vicky Karayiannis, for child abuse.
The paper printed one example of a post, believed to be written by Robbins, that was directed at Karayiannis. “I forgive her, but I’m done playing games with her. She is not going to be able to hurt him ever again by the time I’m done with her,” it reads.
The Tribune stated that, according to court records, the Cornells said they suffered “emotional trauma, inability to focus on work activities, sleep loss, and anxiety” from the harassment.
In an unrelated incident, police arrested a local woman for allegedly tweeting death threats at Cornell in February. This woman reportedly used nine different user names and sent more than 100 threatening tweets, including one alluding to the sexual assault of his 13-year-old daughter, according to a KIRO 7 report. Prosecutors said the tweets constituted cyberstalking and filed criminal charges against her.
In 2006, Spin reported (via the New York Post) that the couple reportedly installed what it described as an “impenetrable” security system in their Beverly Hills home, following emailed death threats on their children dating back to 2004, when Karayiannis was pregnant with her second child. The following year, Blabbermouth reported (also via the Post) that the surveillance system caught an intruder alleged to be a private eye hired by Cornell’s ex-wife, Susan Silver, who had broken into their home and used their bathroom. Silver had reportedly hired him to serve Cornell with papers regarding a dispute over 15 guitars she said she owned. The P.I. was charged with aggravated trespassing.