Justin Carter, 19, was bailed out of prison earlier today when an unidentified person paid the amount of $500,000.
Carter had been arrested for an allegedly sarcastic remark on Facebook. On February 14 of this year, Carter, an avid gamer, was insulted on Facebook by fellow League of Legends player, calling him “messed up in the head.” Carter fired back this shocking reponse: “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.”
This comment came just two months following the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary. Though Carter followed the remark with the comment, “Lol” and “JK,” a woman in Canada found this comment no laughing matter. She notified the authorities, Carter’s computer was confiscated, his home was raided, and though no weapons were found, Carter spent his 19th birthday in jail.
The comment apparently qualified as a terroristic threat which, as a third-degree felony, could mean up to ten years of jail time for the teen. The teen was also given an unusually high bail of $500,000 which the family could not afford to pay.
Carter’s trial begins this month and his father reports the teen has fallen into a deep depression after nearly four months in prison. His father reports that the teen has suffered "concussions, black eyes" and "moved four times for his own protection."
Carter’s mother has created a petition on Change.org to ask for the release of her son and has already received 100,000 signatures.
Since then, things have been looking up for the Carters. They are being defended pro-bono and an anonymous donor paid Justin’s sky-high bail. Left to be determined, however, is whether Carter will be convicted and what sentence might he face. This case, one of many, will determine the ever-evolving definitional limits of free speech in social media and the modern world.