Four Months Later a Texas Teen is Still in Jail for a Joking Comment He Made on Facebook
Have you heard about the New Braunfels kid who was put in jail for making a sarcastic comment on Facebook? 19-year-old Justin Carter is currently on suicide watch in Comal County Jail near San Antonio. He has been locked up since February, accused of making a terroristic threat, a felony that could send him to prison for up to eight years.
According to a KVUE report, back in February, Justin, who was 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,'" Justin's father, 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.'"
According to court documents, Justin wrote "I'm f---ed in the head alright. I think I'ma (sic) shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them."
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.
After the Canadian woman notified police, a search warrant was issued on February 13 and a week later Justin was arrested.
His bond is half a million dollars. His family can’t afford the $50,000, it would take to get Justin out of jail while he awaits trial. His lawyer, Donald H. Flanary III, says the bond is outrageous. Flanary, who is working the case for free, told CNN, "I've represented murderers and their bond was $150,000."
Flanary 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."
Meanwhile, people have come together online to support the jailed teen.
A Change.org petition titled "Release Justin Carter and Change the Investigative Criteria for Terroristic Threat Laws" had received nearly 35,000 digital signatures as of Tuesday afternoon.
Jack Carter says that, as a parent, he understands why authorities are so vigilant about threats of school violence. "But at some point during the investigation there has to be some common sense."
UPDATE: An anonymous donor posted $500,000 bail for Justin on July 11. He is out of jail now.