League Of Legends Player Gaoled After 'Terrorist Threat' On Facebook

Trash talk during video game play isn’t all uncommon. And, while it's troubling when the chatter turns sexist, racist, homophobic or extremely threatening, many games and communities have their own remedies: penalties, bans, negative consequences for player reputations. The last thing you'd expect is for someone to wind up in jail. But that's exactly what happened to 19-year-old Justin Carter after a League of Legends match. He’s been in gaol since February.

Carter was playing Riot's hit MOBA game in February and jokingly responded to another player's comment. His words, according to Carter’s father Jack, were "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," followed by "lol" and "jk".

After seeing the comments on Facebook, an unidentified Canadian woman looked up Carter's personal information, found an old address located near an elementary school and called the cops. The then-18-year-old Carter was subsequently arrested on February 14 on charges of making a terrorist threat and has been in custody awaiting trial for more than three months.

Many people feel like mass killings like the Newton shootings are nothing to joke about and any remark that seems to hint at violence at that scale should certainly be investigated. But, according to a petition letter written by his parents, a police investigation of Justin Carter's home turned up no weapons of any kind. Carter has a hearing on July 1st to review his case and could be sentenced to eight years in gaol if found guilty of the charges.

[Via The Daily Caller and KHOU]

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Comments

    This is just stupid. Should he be cautioned? Sure ok. But jailed? HELL no. This is just ridiculous.

    Also, interesting to see Evan spelling gaol like that? Isn't he American? Or am I wrong? No complaints at all, it's quite interesting from a literary point of view.

      Appears to be a Kotaku AU edit. Original title reads "Facebook Comment Lands League of Legends Player in Jail" and the body contains jail rather than gaol.

      Gaol seems appropriate while the case is being further investigated or while Carter is awaiting trial, heavy-handed from our perspective but probably viewed as precautionary by law enforcement. It's an unpleasant standing at the moment, and I'd be both surprised and disappointed if this continues to prosecution and prison.

      Last edited 30/06/13 2:32 am

        According to some articles I just read about this, the police wanted him to sign for 8 years jail but he refused. Sounds like they really wanna lock this kid up. There's a petition to get him out:

        http://www.change.org/petitions/release-justin-carter-and-change-the-investigative-criteria-for-terroristic-threat-laws

        I think while he awaits, sure, it'll teach him a damn good lesson about making such blatantly moronic comments ever again, especially in terms of such a topic. So I don't disagree at all. They say he could be looking at 8 years but I think that's the potential maximum a charge like that carries. I think it'll be looked at that he was obviously joking. He may be fined, he may be let go with a warning, but to be honest, it's even farcical it's gone this far. An arrest by the cops, a small detaining and questioning should have been enough, this is a little ridiculous, but then, I guess we've seen enough shootings where we question why subjects weren't detained or questioned previous etc... so I guess safety first huh?

      I find it more interesting that he spells it jail in one sentence and gaol the next.
      The last thing you’d expect is for someone to wind up in jail. But that’s exactly what happened to 19-year-old Justin Carter after a League of Legends match. He’s been in gaol since February.

    This is just ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. They shoulda just sent some cops to his door and sternly told him that this kind of thing can put you in jail and I'm sure he would have got the message. Clearly it's a dumb, tasteless joke, but not something for which you should be sitting in jail.

      I completely agree. Having police turn up at his house with a warning would be more than enough to scare a little keyboard warrior straight.

      Yeah but then if that woman on Facebook finds out he was just given a stern talking too she will go on a tirade about how "the police let a potential terrorist loose, who can we trust now?" And the media will be all over it.

    "They shoulda just sent some cops to his door and sternly told him that this kind of thing can put you in jail"

    And then they'd put him in jail. Otherwise, what's the point of saying that they'll got o jail if they do it, if you don't put them in jail when they do it?

    Should he havebeen arrested? I think so. should he still be there now? No way. Any real investigation would show he was just a tool.

      Often police give a warning for doing something wrong, especially if you've unknowingly broken the law. Happens all the time.

    I mean stupid move on his part, particularly on the internet. It's like cringing at the airport when you hear someone make a harmless joke about a bomb or something. Yes, I've actually heard it happen more than once. You just don't do it. It's not even remotely funny.

    Still, a little bit harsh, methinks. I'd say he just needed to be told this shit wasn't something you joke about by someone in a position of authority, but that's it.

    Facebook...
    Has society fallen so far as to put faith in and hold as truth what is posted therein?

    When I still used facebook, I had a disclaimer that loosely went; "Nothing I post here is any indication of what I will or wont do or feel about anything in any known or unknown dimensions on any discovered or undiscovered worlds.

    Yeah, this is definitely one of those "better to follow the spirit of the law, not the letter" moments. Putting "lol jk" after it clearly puts it in context for the place it was posted.

      Tell that to the mother who got all upset and hurt over nothing and decided the cops needed to be called. Keep it classy, parents. The internet is still no place for you after all.

    The imprisonment of a adolescent for a comment made over a video game chat is the most ridiculous thing I have read this week. I honestly thought this was another internet joke or meme. When I found out this was actually realistic I seriously wanted to go and shoot up a police station and eat their still beating hearts, lol jk.

      Tomorrow I'm gonna get a shotgun and go into a police station and kill every police officer I see

      in GTA

        Haha me too, those pigs better watch out tomorrow.

    It's all fun and games until they realise you were telling the truth.

    (NB. I'm not saying he was or was not joking, just that a lot of these things get laughed off as a joke and then people find out they actually meant it)

    Last edited 30/06/13 11:33 pm

    What I'm confused about is why League of Legends is even mentioned in this. Sure the topic of choice being argued about on facebook was league of legends but you could easily not include the topic and still have the article be able to stay fully relevant.

    Short Story: Someone made a sarcastic ill-thought terrorist comment/threat that someone reported and the authorities got way too serious about it.

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