A 20-year-old Florida college student pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday for threatening President Obama‘s life on his Facebook. In the post, he threatened to put “a bullet through his [Obama’s] head,” but told investigators that his incendiary comments weren’t a genuine threat, but an attempt to get a rise out of Obama supporters in his friends list.
Joaquin Amador Serrapio Jr. originally pleaded “not guilty” after his arrest by Secret Service agents back in February, but changed his plea after accepting an offer from prosecutors, according to his attorney, Alan Ross. Serrapio could still get up to five years in federal prison for his comments, but will likely serve less time, says Ross. This is likely due to the conclusion of the investigators, which shows that Serrapio neither had the means or the intentions to carry out his threat against the president. President Obama was never in any real danger, as Serrapio only “wanted to get a reaction from political supporters of President Obama,” Ross said.
“He was really stupid, really stupid,” said Ross of his client. Understatement.
Serrapio is a music business major at Miami-Dade College and fronts a rock band named the “J. Valor Band.” Serrapio posted his threats under his “Jay Valor” profile on Facebook around the time of Obama’s February visit to South Florida to give a speech at the University of Miami and to attend a few fundraisers.
In a February 21st post Serrapio said, “Who wants to help me assassinate Obummer while hes at UM this week?” He followed this jewel up with, “If anyones going to UM to see Obama today, get ur phones out and record. Cause at any moment im gonna put a bullet through his head and u don’t wanna miss that! Youtube!” on February 23rd, the day of President Obama’s visit.
Someone saw the idiotic posts, called the Coral Gables Police Department, Secret Service followed, and the rest is history. A search of Serrapio’s home (agreed to by his mother) turned up a cell phone with text messages regarding the controversial post. He replied to one concerned friend via text with, “LOL you can get in trouble for sayin’ that,” regarding his Facebook post. In the cell phone were also threats against Secret Service, should they come after him. “I wanna kill at least two of them when they get here,” Serrapio said in that text.
The only weapons found by the Secret Service were two pellet guns; hardly enough to take down two agents or even a president, for that matter.
Though Serrapio has declined to comment through his lawyer, he is expected to serve either 10 months in jail or on probation in accordance with the deal he made with prosecutors. “There’s no requirement that any portion of the sentence be served in jail,” Ross said, referring to the sentencing guidelines. Serrapio remains free on bail.
Do you think that threats against the lives of public officials should be taken more seriously?