Justin’s nightmare began back in February when the New Braunfels, Texas teen got into an argument on Facebook over the online game “League of Legends.” One user began taunting Justin and calling him names.
“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.”
He then corrected the distasteful comment by typing “LOL” (laugh out loud) and “JK” (joking).
But by then it was too late, as a Facebook user in Canada eventually tracked Justin down using Google. It was learned through the popular search engine that Justin lived near an elementary school, and he was reported to local authorities by the concerned citizen.
Justin was charged with making a terrorist threat and put in jail. Justin doesn’t even live next to the school listed on the address found by the Canadian who searched Google. He had moved out of his father’s home, which was the previous address listing the school being near his previous address.
Justin had his own apartment with a roommate. He also had a job, at which the sheriff came to and placed him under arrest.
Although he was arrested on February 14, Justin wasn’t questioned by the police until March 13. The police had paid a visit to his father’s home a week after his arrest and asked whether he lived at the address and whether he had any weapons. His father told the police he didn’t live there.
Police then went to Justin’s apartment and searched it. Only his laptop computer was found there and was taken as evidence. Justin remains in jail, as his parents can’t afford his half million dollar bail bond.
His mother, Jennifer Carter, admits what Justin did was very stupid, but describes her son as a typical young man who hangs out with his friends, babysits and enjoys video games. Justin loves children, and wouldn’t do anything to harm a child.
Now Jennifer has started a petition at Change.org asking for her son’s release. The petition now has more than 27,000 signatures, asking for leniency on the teen. Jennifer believes the police have done nothing to show her son is a threat to public safety. She believes his First Amendment right to freedom of speech has been violated.
Officials want Justin to sign a plea bargain where he will have to serve eight years in prison. Jason refuses to sign because he doesn’t believe he deserves prison for making a careless remark on Facebook.
Many in the U.S. are unaware of a law President Barack Obama signed back in 2011. Called the National Defense Authorization Act, this law allows the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the U.S. without charging them with any particular crime.
Even though this wasn’t a military arrest involving Justin Carter, the way he’s been treated since his arrest are similar. He was held for a month without being questioned. It’s possible he’ll be in jail for a very long time, all because of a remark he made on Facebook.
In a very in-depth interview (please take the time to read) reported on by FreeToPlay TV dated June 30, Jennifer Carter stated
“The only evidence we have from the DA’s Office is a screen capture of his (Facebook) statement and the previous statement.”
Justin has had to be transferred from jail to jail for his own protection. He has put into solitary confinement two weeks ago for his own protection and has been under suicide watch.
Justin has a pre-trial hearing on July 1, which will decide whether or not to take his case to trial. His attorney will also ask for the amount of his bond to be reduced.
His family fears the worst, at the same time hoping charges will be reduced to a misdemeanor so Justin doesn’t have a felony terrorism charge following him the rest of his life.
His mother told FreeToPlay
“There is one part of myself that just wants to get him out, but then there’s another part of myself that is just so angry that this is even happening and that we are supposed to have freedom of speech in this country and even if we don’t like them we are supposed to be able to say them without fear.”
The moral of this article is to be careful what you post on Facebook, because it can come back to haunt you. Quite a few people have gone to jail or lost their jobs because of posts they made in fun on the popular social media site.
As to Justin and what his future holds, what do the readers here believe should happen. This is a tough call, especially with the the school shootings that make national news on a regular basis.
What are your thoughts? Should Justin be allowed to come home, or is he being made an example of? Your comments are welcome.