Justin Carter, the Texas teen jailed over a sarcastic Facebook comment, is reportedly on suicide watch.
“He’s very depressed, very scared, and … concerned that he’s not going to get out,” Carter’s father, Jack, said in an interview with CNN Tuesday. “He’s pretty much lost all hope.”
Carter, 19, was arrested in February of this year following an argument he had on Facebook regarding “League of Legends,” an online video game.
“[S]omeone had said something to the effect of ‘Oh you’re insane, you’re crazy, you’re messed up in the head,’” Jack recalled to ABC affiliate KVUE in an earlier interview. “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].”
Despite the teen’s insistence of “lol” and “jk” — internet shorthand for “laughing out loud” and “just kidding,” respectively — a woman who came across the comment on Facebook failed to see the humor. She alerted police after realizing Carter lived near an elementary school. On February 13, a judge authorized a search warrant. A warrant for Carter’s arrest came one week later, reports WPTV.
Given recent school-related violence, the threat was taken seriously, meaning Carter has been charged with making a “terroristic threat,” a felony that carries up to an eight-year prison sentence. His bail: $500,000, reports NPR, an amount his family can’t pay, thus keeping him behind bars.
“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.”