Father: Teen Jailed For Facebook Comment Beat Up Behind Bars | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Father: Teen Jailed For Facebook Comment Beat Up Behind Bars

Play associated audio

The family of Justin Carter, the 19-year old Texas gamer who made offensive Facebook comments that landed him in jail, is working with new urgency to get his $500,000 bail reduced because they say he's getting beat up while behind bars.

"Without getting into the really nasty details, he's had concussions, black eyes, moved four times from base for his own protection," says Carter's father, Jack. "He's been put in solitary confinement, nude, for days on end because he's depressed. All of this is extremely traumatic to this kid. This is a horrible experience."

Carter has been in jail since a February arrest. After Justin finished playing the online game League of Legends, where the community trash-talking can get quite toxic, court documents show he posted the following messages on a Facebook page:

"I think Ima shoot up a kindergarten / And watch the blood of the innocent rain down/ And eat the beating heart of one of them."

Carter's father says his son was responding to an insult by being sarcastic, and followed the message with "JK" for just kidding, but that's disputed by police.

In April, a grand jury in Comal County, Texas, indicted Carter on a charge of making a terroristic threat, and a judge set bail at $500,000. The high bail has kept Carter imprisoned while his case moves through the court process.

"I have been practicing law for 10 years, I've represented murderers, terrorists, rapists. Anything you can think of. I have never seen a bond at $500,000," says Carter's attorney, Don Flanary.

The charge is a third-degree felony, which in Texas, carries up to 10 years in prison. The Comal County District Attorney's office hasn't responded to our calls, but police in New Braunfels, Texas, who have investigated the case, say in a time of heightened sensitivity to school shootings, their interest is in preventing violence when they can.

"The whole situation is kind of unfortunate," said New Braunfels Police Lt. John Wells. "We definitely understand the situation that Mr. Carter is in, however he made the comments, and it is an offense. We have to ... protect the general public and specifically, in this case, with it involving schoolchildren, we have to act. We take those very seriously."

Carter's father says his son's past five months of "suffering quite a bit of abuse" behind bars don't fit the crime. "He says he's really sorry. He just got caught up in the moment of the game and didn't think about the implications," Jack Carter says.

An online petition for Justin Carter's release has gotten nearly 40,000 signatures, and attorney Flanary got a new hearing set for July 16 to bring up issues of his abuse and to try to get bond lowered so Carter can go home to await trial.

If convicted, Carter could face up to 10 years in prison.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Maggie Gyllenhaal Is 'The Honorable Woman': A Series Both Ruthless And Rewarding

The eight-part drama that begins Thursday stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as a British baroness with an Israeli passport. She's a fearless actor in a show full of kidnappings, seductions and betrayals.
NPR

When China Spurns GMO Corn Imports, American Farmers Lose Billions

China has been a big and growing market for U.S. corn. But then farmers started planting a kind of genetically engineered corn that's not yet approved in China, and the Chinese government struck back.
NPR

Congress Approves $16.3 Billion VA Health Care Bill

A 91-3 vote in the Senate will send the landmark VA legislation, meant to address widespread problems in the VA health care system, to President Obama for his signature.
NPR

Can Pinterest Compete With Google's Search?

Pinterest has created a database of things that matter to humans. And with a programming team that's largely been hired away from Google, the company has begun offering what it calls "guided search."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.