Anonymous bail donation frees teen from jail accused of making 'terroristic' threats on Facebook
Justin Carter has been locked up since February.
CNN reports that Carter first got into trouble five months ago when he and a friend were trading verbal jabs on Facebook over the video game "League of Legends."
The teen wrote, "I'm (expletive) 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."
He followed up that comment with "LOL" and "JK" (short for "laughing out loud" and "just kidding"), according to his father. Jack Carter told CNN affiliate KVUE that it was just a sarcastic response to a friend.
“Someone had said something to the effect of 'Oh, you're insane, you're crazy, you're messed up in the head,’ to which he (Justin) 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,’" Carter told KVUE.
A Canadian woman saw the post, "took a screenshot of Carters post and sent it to the Canadian Crime Stoppers Association, a nonprofit which collects anonymous tips regarding possible criminal activity and passes them along to the police," according to MSNBC's Ned Resnikoff.
The information about Carter's post made its way to the Austin Regional Intelligence Center, which contacted the Austin Police Department. The teen was arrested and charged and bail was set at $250,000.
MSNBC further explains that "Carter grew up in Austin but had since moved to San Antonio. After his arrest he was transferred to Austin's Travis County Jail. ... Because Carter didnt have the money to spare, he spent weeks in jail before it was determined that he did not fall under Travis Countys jurisdiction."
He was then transferred again, this time to Comal County near San Antonio, and a judge then doubled his bail to $500,000.
“These people are serious. They really want my son to go away to jail for a sarcastic comment that he made," Jack Carter told KVUE.
The youngster's comments came only two months after the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn.
“Justin was the kind of kid who didn't read the newspaper. He didn't watch television," Jack Carter told KVUE. "He wasn't aware of current events. These kids, they don't realize what they're doing. They don't understand the implications. They don't understand public space."
In April a grand jury determined that Justin Carter made terroristic threats “with the intent to cause impairment or interruption of communications, public transportation, public water, gas or public supply or other public service” and to “place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury.”
But the case took a dramatic turn Thursday when it was announced that an "anonymous good Samaritan" donated the cash to free the teen.
The teenager had apparently been having a difficult time in his new settings. The Blaze reported earlier that he had been put on suicide watch.
Jack Carter told NPR that his son had been “put in solitary confinement, nude, for days on end because he’s depressed.”
Justin's mother, Jennifer Carter, wrote in an online petition that her son had been "assaulted a number of times" in jail and that no weapons were found at his home when the police searched it.
"Justin's a good kid," she wrote. "He wouldn't hurt anyone, yet alone a kid."
Justin Carter's next court appearance is scheduled for July 16. He previously rejected a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for eight years.
Justin Carter and his father will appear on Chris Hayes' "All In" show on MSNBC tonight to discuss the case.
Editor's Note: The original version of this story posted on July 12, 2013, failed to properly attribute all source materials, which violates our editorial policies. The story was revised on Oct. 8, 2013, to attribute original source material.
Michael Smith is a writer in the news section of DeseretNews.com. A 2013 graduate of the University of Utah, he will be attending Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism in the fall.
- 'Maze Runner,' based on Utah author's novel,...
- Why do we love bad movies?
- Big screen 'Maze Runner' is a big dream come...
- 'The Lion King' earns record box office
- 'Maze Runner' races past 'Tombstones' with...
- Ballet to Broadway: Two Utah-native siblings...
- ‘Kung Fu Panda’ director to helm...
- Latest 'Disney Infinity' introduces Marvel...