In her first comment on the increasingly high profile case of the teenager who was jailed for what he claimed was a joking comment on Facebook, Comal County District Attorney Jennifer Tharp says in a statement that Justin Carter could get 'community supervision or probation' if that is determined to be in the 'best interest of the defendant and society.
Carter, 19, is jailed on charges of making a terroristic threat due to a comment he made in a Facebook discussion about the on line video game 'League of Legends.'
When another player called Justin 'insane,' he responded by replying "I' f***ed in the head alright. I think Ima (sic) shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them." Justin responded by typing 'LOL' (Laugh Out Loud) and 'JK!' (Joke)
But a woman in Canada read the posting and Googled Justin's address. The return she got indicated that he lived near an elementary school in Austin, even though he actually lives in New Braunfels, and she contacted Austin police.
"These kids maybe don't realize what they're doing, they don't understand the implication, they don't understand public space," Justin's dad Jack Carter told 1200 WOAI news.
Justin has a court date week after next and he could be released from the Comal County Jail, where he has been since February, charged with making terroristic threats.
Tharp says the charge is a felony which carries a sentence of two to ten years in prison.
"These people are serious," Carter said. "They want my son to go away to jail for a sarcastic comment that he made."
Tharp says she will have no further comment on the case, but there are plenty of comments on line.
A petition on 'Change.org' calling for Justin's release has gotten more than 50,000 signatures.
"My son has been in jail for months because we can't afford to pay the half million dollar bail money," Justin's mother Jennifer Carter wrote. "It took a month before he was even questioned and he spent his 19th birthday behind bars."
She says Justin has been 'assaulted a number of times' in the Comal County Jail and has been 'in solitary confinement for weeks."
Her petition also calls on Texas to revise its terroristic threats law, which allow charges like this to be brought. She says no weapons were ever found.
"His response may have been in bad taste, but it was written in a non-threatening way that didn’t translate well online," she wrote. "None of his friends or family would even question his intention as anything other than a poor choice of words."