Teen charged, held for months over 'terroristic' Facebook threat
By NBC News
T-shirts to "Free Justin Carter" are being sold.
By Scott Stump, TODAY
(NBC) - Nearly five months after he was charged with making a terroristic threat on Facebook, a Texas teen remains in jail while his father worries constantly about his son's safety.
"He's scared for his life, and I'm scared for his life," Jack Carter told TODAY. "And every minute he's in there is just another moment of torture for me and for him."
Justin Carter, 19, is being held in the Comal County Jail in New Braunfels near San Antonio on a $500,000 bond after being charged with making a terroristic threat on Facebook in February. The charge is a third-degree felony and could lead to a prison term of two to 10 years if Carter is convicted.
Two months after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT., Carter wrote on Facebook, "I think I'ma shoot up a kindergarten. And watch the blood of the innocent rain down. And eat the beating heart of one of them."
"Unfortunately, any time that we have those type of comments made about a school system, with the history of school violence, we have shown we have to take those very seriously,'' Lt. John Wells of the New Braunfels Police Department told TODAY.
"He never contemplated anybody would take that to mean that he's serious,'' attorney Don Flanary told TODAY. "It's clearly sarcasm."
Flanary and Carter's father understand why authorities were concerned but argue there is no evidence Carter ever intended or had the means to carry out the threat. Flanary says he will meet with the judge on Tuesday to ask for a reduced bond so that Carter can be released from jail and come home to his family to fight the charges. Under the current $500,000 bond, his family would have to put up 10 percent, or $50,000, to have him released, and does not have the money to do so.
"He's a good kid, and he never did anything, and there was not any weapons,'' Jack Carter said. "I think it's very obvious."
"Justin Carter's case will proceed through the criminal justice system like all the other felony cases,'' the Comal County district attorney's office said in a statement to TODAY.
A change.org petition started by Jack Carter called "Release My Son Justin Carter – In Jail for a Facebook Comment" had received more than 63,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.
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