The father of teenager Justin Carter, who has been in jail since a February arrest for making a sarcastic comment on Facebook, wept over the black eyes and concussions he claims his son has suffered from beatings behind bars and is now desperately trying to get his son's hefty $500,000 bail reduced.
"Without getting into the really nasty details, he's had concussions, black eyes, moved four times from base for his own protection," said Jack Carter of his now 19-year-old son's condition in jail in a NPR interview posted on Wednesday morning. "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," he added.
Justin Carter was 18 in February when he allegedly got into an argument with someone over an online video game called "League of Legends."
"Someone had said something to the effect of 'Oh you're insane, you're crazy, you're messed up in the head,' to which he 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," explained Jack Carter in an earlier report.
Although "LOL" is online speak for "laughing out loud" and "jk" means "just kidding," local police treated the teen's post as a terroristic threat when a Canadian woman who saw his comment alerted local police.
In April, according to NPR, a grand jury in Comal County, Texas, indicted the teen on a charge of making a terroristic threat and his bail was set at $500,000 by a judge. The amount, which is prohibitive for Carter's family, has kept the teen in jail while he awaits his day in court.
"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 told NPR.
The charge of making a terroristic threat is classified as a third-degree felony and comes with a punishment of up-to 10 years in prison in Texas.
Police in New Braunfels, Texas, who investigated Justin's case noted that their interest in the comment is in preventing violence whenever possible, especially in light of recent school shootings.
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"The whole situation is kind of unfortunate," noted New Braunfels Police Lt. John Wells. "We definitely understand the situation that Mr. Carter is in, however he made the comments, and it is an offense. We have to ... protect the general public and specifically, in this case, with it involving schoolchildren, we have to act. We take those very seriously."
The teen's father, however, doesn't believe the abuse his son has suffered behind bars in the last five months fit his son's crime.
"He says he's really sorry. He just got caught up in the moment of the game and didn't think about the implications," said Jack Carter.