The Texas teen who has been behind bars for months after being arrested for a sarcastic comment he made on Facebook has been released after an anonymous donor abruptly came forward to cover his $500,000 bond.
It all started on February 13th.
19-year-old Justin Carter had been engaged in a Facebook back-and-forth with a fellow League of Legends player when the latter accused him of being "insane."
"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," Justin replied, according to his father Jack.
The comment, which Jack insists was "sarcastic," made its way to the eyeballs of an unidentified Canadian citizen who called up the Canadian Crime Stoppers Association — a nonprofit which promises cash money (up to $2,000) for tips that lead to arrests.
Using the information provided to them by the anonymous tipster, Crime Stoppers reached out to the Austin Regional Intelligence Center, which prompted the Austin Police Department to issue a warrant for Justin's arrest on suspicion of "making a terroristic threat."
He was subsequently picked up and booked into Austin’s Travis County Jail, where he remained for several weeks having been unable to come up with the $250,000 necessary to bail out.
Justin was later transferred to the Comal County jail in New Braunfels, where he had his bail doubled by a local judge.
After he rejected an offer to plead guilty in exchange for eight years in prison, a grand jury indicted him on the terroristic threat charge, and a hearing date was set for July 16th.
The last few months have been extremely hard on Justin, who, according to his lawyer, was regularly beaten by other inmates to the point where he had to be put in solitary confinement and placed on suicide watch.
Happily for Justin's family, an "anonymous good Samaritan" offered to donate the $500,000 in bail money so Justin could be released ahead of his court date.
"He's glad he's out. His family is ecstatic. He feels good. He is relieved. It's been an ordeal," Justin's attorney Don Flanary told NPR.
Justin himself spoke out for the first time since his release in an interview with CNN’s Kate Bolduan on this morning's New Day.
"I just think that it got taken out of context and it’s been blown out of proportion," Justin told Bolduan, referring to his now-infamous Facebook comment.
The over 125,000 people who signed the Change.org petition to release Justin from jail apparently agree.
Justin does regret posting the comment, saying if he had it to do again he would have "thought a lot more about what I said and how permanent my writing is."
But he also wants his case to serve as a warning to others who are posting their every waking thought on social networking sites.
"I just want to make it clear that people should be very, very careful of what they say and it’s being recorded all the time if you say it on any website, anywhere," he said. " And you can get in trouble for something that’s not something you should get in trouble for. And I just want people to be warned."
Justin plans to stay near New Braunfels until his scheduled court appearance on Tuesday. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
[screengrab via CNN]