Texas teen facing a terrorism charge over an alleged threat on Facebook is free on bail
Justin Carter, 19, spent five months in prison for what he says was a sarcastic comment
He was freed after an anonymous donor posted a $500,000 bond
"I just think it got taken out of context, and it's been blown out of proportion," Carter says
The Texas teen facing a felony terrorism charge over an alleged threat on Facebook has been released on bail after an anonymous donor posted a $500,000 bond.
Justin Carter, 19, had spent five months in prison for posting, during an argument about a video game, what he said was a sarcastic comment about how he was going to “shoot up a kindergarten.”
“I just think it got taken out of context, and it’s been blown out of proportion,” Carter told Kate Bolduan on “New Day,” CNN’s morning show. The brief interview marked Carter’s first public comments since he was jailed in February.
Carter’s case has received widespread media attention and alarmed free-speech activists. His arrest came amid heightened concerns over school violence since December’s mass shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
In February, Carter and a friend were arguing on Facebook with someone else over the online video game “League of Legends.” His father told CNN that other gamer called Justin crazy and his son responded with sarcasm.
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.
“Any clear reading and full reading of the context of that statement would make it obvious that this was just a sarcastic joke,” Chad Van Brunt, one of Carter’s attorneys, told CNN on Friday. “If we get to trial … it’s just going to be abundantly clear, if it’s not already.”
Authorities said someone reported the comment – which came about two months after the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School – leading to Carter’s arrest February 21 on a felony charge of making terroristic threats. In Texas, that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.