Melbourne, FL – Just in case you needed any more motivation to not make empty threats against public officials online, consider the story of Christopher Castillo, who has 15 months to think about Internet decorum in the tank.
Things got pretty heated during election season last year, and Castillo became something of a cautionary tale when he claimed on Facebook that he would “hunt” the president down and “kill him and watch the life disappear from his eyes” if he got re-elected.
From his arrest at the hands of the Secret Service, Castillo insisted that he was only joking and that he would never actually go through with his empty threat against the POTUS. Though he confessed almost immediately, his lawyer still attempted to frame him as a victim during the trial.
His lawyer said that he had been under an enormous amount of stress at the time and had even attempted to take his own life a few days before. Definitely not a dangerous guy, right? Still, his attorney was at least technically correct when he told the jury that “Mr. Castillo is not an assassin,” and argued that he was baited by an online troll.
But, as DailyDot notes, the “troll made me do it” defense didn’t hold up in court the way Castillo might have liked. Threatening the president… yes, just threatening him, is a Class D felony, making it an automatic year in jail. The maximum clink-time for this particular offense is 10 years behind bars.
Don’t threaten the president!