Monday marked the first pre-trial hearing in the case of Justin Carter, the Texas 19-year-old accused of making “terroristic threats” over Facebook. Attorney Donald Flanary III, who represents Carter, told MSNBC he would seek to have the case dismissed on the ground that Carter’s remarks were protected speech and do not constitute a real threat.
“We feel pretty good about our case, but it’s going to take some time, and that’s fine,” said Flanary.
Carter was first arrested in February after he got in an argument with fellow gamers on Facebook and posted a comment saying, “I’m f—ed in the head alright. 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.” Although Carter’s parents and attorney insist that the comment was a sarcastic response to another Facebook user, a Texan grand jury has indicted the teenager on charges related to terrorism.
The Comal County District Attorney’s office, which represents the prosecution, is not commenting on the proceedings until they have concluded. However, a July 3 press release from the district attorney noted that the charges against Carter may carry a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.