News & Politics

Teenager Jailed for Facebook "Terrorist Threat" Is Now On Suicide Watch

The nineteen-year-old facing a third-degree felony for a Facebook joke is now suffering from the trauma of incarceration.

The nineteen-year-old jailed for making a "terrorist threat" after posting an obviously sarcastic comment on Facebook is now reportedly on suicide watch in jail, where he has been held on $500,000 bond since February. Texas gamer Justin Carter was arrested after for a remark he made during a Facebook debate about the videogame "League Legends."  "[S]omeone had said something to the effect of 'Oh you're insane, you're crazy, you're messed up in the head,’" Carter's dad Jack told ABC affiliate KVUE, "To which [Justin] replied 'Oh yeah, I'm real messed up in the head, I'm going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts,’ and the next two lines were 'lol and jk' [all sic]."

Carter struck a chord with a Facebook user concerned that he lived near an elementary school, and reported him to police. Now, the teenager is not only facing a third-degree felony and decade in prison, but is also dealing with the trauma of incarceration. 

 "Without getting into the really nasty details, he's had concussions, black eyes, moved four times from base for his own protection," Jack elaborated on Justin's current condition in jail. "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," his dad told NPR

"He's very depressed, very scared, and ... concerned that he's not going to get out," Carter's father Jack told CNN, "He's pretty much lost all hope." Carter's parents do not have the means to come up with half-a-million dollars to release their son. 

Carter's dad said he understands sensitivity to police shootings, but that the The Comal County District Attorney could have made a far less punitive call.  “I definitely see the need to investigate such claims, absolutely,” Jack Carter told CNN, “But, at some point during the investigation, there has to be some common sense.” 

The circumstances of his arrest and incarceration are, indeed, extreme. "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," Carter's attorney, Don Flanary, who has been representing the teenager pro-bono, told NPR.