It was a sarcastic Facebook comment during an argument about a video game. And, according to the father of 19-year-old Justin Carter, it was enough to land his son behind bars for months, facing the possibility of years in prison.
Carter, who is currently on suicide watch in Comal County Jail near San Antonio, Texas, has been locked up since February. He faces a charge of making terroristic threats, a felony that could theoretically bring a sentence of up to eight years.
In February, Justin, then 18, and a friend were arguing on Facebook with someone else over the online video game “League of Legends.”
“Someone had said something to the effect of ‘Oh you’re insane. You’re crazy. You’re messed up in the head,’” Jack Carter told CNN affiliate KVUE in Austin. “To which he replied ‘Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head. I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still-beating hearts.’”
Jack Carter said his son followed the claim with “LOL” and “J/K” — indicating that the comment wasn’t serious.
But someone else — Carter says a woman in Canada — noticed the comment and reported it to authorities. Coming two months after the deadly shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, the report wasn’t taken lightly. According to court documents, Carter lived less than a half-mile from an elementary school in New Braunfels, Texas.
A search warrant was issued on February 13 and, a week later, a judge issued a warrant for his arrest. A judge set bond for Justin Carter at $500,000, meaning that 10% of that, or $50,000, would have to be posted to get him out of jail while he awaits trial. His lawyer, Donald H. Flanary III, says that’s far more than his family can afford.
Flanary said he planned to meet with Justin Carter Tuesday afternoon and ask a judge for the bond to be reduced. He said police didn’t find any weapons or other items to suggest that Justin’s comment was serious, but that, “in the times we’re living in, it was kind of a perfect storm.”
Do you think Justin Carter deserved to be jailed for his Facebook post? Feel free to comment on this issue!
Source: Doug Ross | CNN
Image: Scallywag & Vagabond