Fri, Jul 12, 2013 | 14:17 BST
League of Legends player jailed in Texas over Facebook rant released on bail
League of Legends player Justin Carter, who was arrested by Texas authorities in February for “threatening” to shoot up an elementary school on Facebook, has been let out of jail on bail.
An anonymous donor provided 10% ($50,000) of the exorbitantly high $500,000 bail set needed to get him out of jail while he awaits his hearing on July 16. The bail, as noted by GameFront, is many times higher than the usual set for someone accused of murder is in the US, which is around the $100,000 mark depending on the circumstances.
“[Carter's family] is indigent, they’re poor. And even if they were middle class, I don’t think they could afford to post a $500,000 bond because it would require a 10 percent deposit, or $50,000, and I don’t know anyone who has $50,000 to get someone out of jail,” said Carter’s attorney Donald Flanary – who took the case pro bono.
“The thing is, the normal bail for someone facing murder charges, facing life in prison, it’s generally $100,000. This is a third-degree felony, he could get up to 15 years. Most of the time those bonds are around $10,000.”
Police arrested the 19-year-old after LoL “trash talk” went beyond the game and onto Facebook. When he was called “crazy” by another player, Carter sarcastically replied: “I’m effin’ crazy all right, I think I’m going to shoot up a kindergarten, and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them.”
Apparently, a concerned Canadian woman saw the Facebook conversation, took a screenshot of it and sent it to the Crime Stoppers Association, who contacted the Austin Regional Intelligence Center. Crime Stoppers pays up to $2,000 in reward money if the tip leads to an arrest.
Speaking with GameFront, Carter’s attorney said that while Carter’s comments were inflammatory, they were sarcastic in nature, and his arrest without any proof of intent shows lack of discretion by law enforcement.
“They’re so petrified by the world we live in, post-Sandy Hook, post-9-11, they don’t want to be the officer who has to say that something happened on their watch,” Flanary said. “And I don’t blame them, obviously they don’t want to have a school shooting in their backyard. I get that.
“The reality is that it’s okay to investigate, it’s not okay to continue to prosecute and arrest when it’s clear that it’s sarcasm.
“He was not talking in public, he was not talking to [the woman from Canada who reported him]. He wasn’t trying to make anyone afraid, he was intending to be sarcastic and say something distasteful and offensive. His speech is fundamentally protected by the First Amendment. ”
According to Carter’s family and his attorneys, while spending time in the Comal County jail, other inmates beat him several times, and he was placed on suicide watch and sent to solitary confinement. His clothes and other items were removed to prevent him hurting himself.