A Florida man is on trial for posting on Facebook that he planned to kill President Obama if he got re-elected.
As we have previously reported, prior to Election Day, 28-year-old Christopher Castillo wrote on Facebook:
“That’s the last straw, if he gets re-elected I’m going to hunt him down and kill him watch the life disappear from his eyes.”
The Secret Service was tipped off to Castillo’s comment, and agents went to Castillo’s Melbourne, Florida, home on November 8. The agents tried to determine Castillo’s motive and asked what he would do if the president were in front of him. Underestimating the severity of the situation, Castillo responded that he would “b**** slap him, and beat the s*** out of him.” He also said he would call Obama a terrorist. He was promptly placed under arrest.
Castillo’s father, Frank, said his son wouldn’t act on the threats and that he wasn’t a “loose cannon.”
An Orlando federal judge began to hear the case against Castillo Tuesday.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Castillo was described by public defender James Smith as an “Internet Troll.” Smith said that Castillo doesn’t own a firearm and is not violent, but Assistant US Attorney Shawn Napier told jurors that at no point during the agents’ interview did Castillo say he was joking about his comments.
Smith said that Castillo had a number of stressors in his life at the time he made the statement. He had recently lost his job and was in a “fragile mental state.” Smith said he had even attempted suicide, and that Castillo frequently said things out of anger that he didn’t mean. Prosecutors told jurors that Castillo made the threat in response to another comment about President Obama, and that it was less of a threat and more of a promise.
The man who reported Castillo to the Secret Service testified Tuesday and said that he felt the threat could have been real, which is why he turned him in.
It seems some people haven’t learned to be careful what they write on Facebook. A 22-year-old woman named Denise Helms was being investigated by the Secret Service because of a comment she made that “maybe [Obama] will get assassinated.” She was also fired from her job at Cold Stone Creamery. The company said it was “as shocked as you were by her outrageous and completely unacceptable comments.”
Do you think people who make threats against the president online should be arrested or investigated?