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Texas teen faces eight years for online gaming threat

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League of Legends players (Credit: Riot Games)

Gamers are notorious for saying rather unpleasant things to one another during matches, but one Texas teen’s online threats have landed him in a load of real-world trouble.

Justin Carter, 19, faces an eight-year prison sentence due to a threatening joke he made in regards to the online multiplayer game, League of Legends. He’s been incarcerated since March.

Carter’s problems started when he got into an argument with another League of Legends player on Facebook.

“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," Jack Carter, Justin’s father, told Houston’s KVUE News.

Despite Justin’s attempt to play the comment off as a joke, a Canadian woman who saw the post reportedly looked up the teen’s address in Austin, realized it was near an elementary school, and notified local authorities.

Justin was arrested a few weeks later. According to his father, he’s been charged with making terroristic threats. If convicted, he’ll face up to eight years in jail.

“These people are serious. They really want my son to go away to jail for a sarcastic comment that he made,” he said.

Austin authorities are sensitive to such threats, citing events like the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 children were killed.

“In light of recent situations, statements such as the one Justin made are taken seriously,” an Austin police detective said in a statement.

Justin’s family has since gone on to form an online petition in the hopes of raising awareness of his plight and possibly amend current anti-terrorism laws. As of Monday it’s reached over 30,000 signatures.

“If I can just help one person to understand that social media is not a playground, that when you go out there into social media, when you use Facebook, when you use Twitter, when you go out there and make comments on news articles, and the things you are saying can and will be used against you," added Jack Carter.

Justin’s case is scheduled to be heard on July 1.

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