Wednesday, July 3, 2013

 

Texas teen facing jail over online school shooting "joke"

HOUSTON, July 2 - A teenager is facing up to eight years in jail in Texas for threatening on Facebook to slaughter kids, despite his claim it was just a joke, local media reported Tuesday.

Nineteen-year-old Justin R. Carter, who has been in jail awaiting trial for months because his family can't raise bail, wrote in a remorseful letter obtained by the San Antonio Express-News Tuesday that he didn't mean to shoot kids but "was trying to be witty and sarcastic" in an effort to impress online gamers.

Carter posted on Feb. 13 on his Facebook page that he wanted "to shoot up a kindergarten, watch the blood rain down and eat the beating heart out of one of them."

He was indicted in April by a county grand jury on a third-degree felony of making a terroristic threat. His defense attorney Donald Flanary III believes the authorities overreacted by filing a criminal complaint against his client.

"Teens these days trash-talk in their Internet gaming communities. He wasn't threatening any individuals. The context of the comment is sarcastic," Flanary said Tuesday.

The spate of deadly school shootings nationwide in recent years factored into the decision to charge Carter, according to the authorities. The threat was taken seriously after the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, in which 20 young children and six women were killed in the state of Connecticut.

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