Smart, blunt and plain-spoken, Mr. Herring had loved computers since he was a teenager and joined Twitter in March 2007, less than a year after it started, his family said.
He knew people wanted his handle, which he chose because of his love for the state, where he had been born and raised, and had rebuffed offers of $3,000 to $4,000 to sell it, his daughter Corinna Fitch, 37, said in an interview.
“He would laugh it off and say, ‘I’m not selling that,’” she said.
The last time Mr. Herring was with his three daughters and their families was a month before his death, at a Sunday dinner hosted by his ex-wife, Fran Herring, who had remained friends with Mr. Herring.
Mr. Herring often came over when Ms. Herring was taking care of the grandchildren and would help bathe them and put them to bed.
“The kids called him Graggie,” because they could not say “granddaddy,” Ms. Fitch said.
He called the hours he spent with his grandchildren “Graggie time.”
“That was his most precious time,” Ms. Fitch said.
Mr. Herring was among at least half a dozen people who were targeted by Mr. Sonderman and “co-conspirators,” who created fake online accounts to find social media users with catchy names, prosecutors said. Mr. Sonderman and his co-conspirators would then contact the holders of those names and ask them to give them up so they could sell them.
If they refused, “Sonderman and his co-conspirators would bombard the owner with repeated phone calls and text messages in a campaign of harassment,” prosecutors said.