The Austin Chronicle

Facebook “Threat” Trial Begins in New Braunfels on Tuesday

Justin Carter, five years later

By Austin Sanders, February 16, 2018, News

Justin Carter finally faces a jury on Feb. 20, five years after first getting indicted on third-degree felony charges for making a "terroristic threat" online. (He wrote on Facebook that he was "fucked in the head" and would "shoot up a kindergarten" after feuding with another gamer.) Although Carter concluded his message by writing "LOL" and "j/k," which he and his attorneys believe proves the sarcasm of his note, repeated attempts at having the charge dismissed have failed, leading to next Tuesday's much anticipated trial in New Braunfels.

The Facebook post came just months after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, in which 20 children were killed, and authorities say they were acting with an abundance of caution – too much of it, say Carter's attorneys, who argue that their client, who was 18 when charged, did not threaten violence against any specific person or property, meaning his comments did not amount to a "terroristic threat" as defined by the Texas Penal Code.

If convicted, Carter faces up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. His attorneys will argue that between the five months he's already spent in jail (he was eventually bonded out for $500,000 by an anonymous donor) and strict terms of his bond agreement – which prevent him from living with minors or using the internet without restrictions – Carter has already been thoroughly punished.

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