A story reported in these pages just took an unexpectedly ugly turn. Justin Carter, 19, who has been in jail since March for making a sarcastic comment while playing an online video game, has been physically assaulted while in jail in Comal County, Texas. According to The Daily Caller, via NPR, the teen has been beaten up by fellow inmates several times and is currently on suicide watch.
Justin’s initial contact with the law came in February, after he made an ill-advised joke about “shooting up a school full of kids” in response to a fellow gamer’s claim that he was crazy. The mother of one youth saw the comment, thought it was a serious threat, and phoned the police.
Of Justin’s current situation, his father, Jack Carter, said in a statement:
Without getting into the really nasty details, he’s had concussions, black eyes, moved four times from base for his own protection. He’s been put in solitary confinement, nude, for days on end because he’s depressed. All of this is extremely traumatic to this kid. This is a horrible experience.
If that description excludes the “really nasty details,” one hesitates to imagine what the boy’s life must be like.
At his arraignment, Texas authorities charged Justin with making threats of a terrorist nature. His bail was set at $500,000, an amount that the family lawyer, Don Flanary, called obscene. “I’ve represented murderers terrorists, rapists, anything you can think of,” he said in a statement. “I’ve never seen a bond at $500,000.”
A spokesperson for Comal County told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Carter’s bail was set by a judge but was unable to say why the amount was so high. A large bail typically indicates that the suspect is extremely dangerous or a substantial flight risk.