17 July 2014

Elonis Facebook Threats

This page is a supplement to my case page on Elonis v. United States. It contains an except from the Third Circuit's opinion that includes some of the threats Elonis posted on Facebook. For a summary of the case, click here.

Following the issuance of the state court Protection From Abuse order, Elonis posted several statements on Facebook expressing intent to harm his wife. On November 7 he wrote:
Did you know that it's illegal for me to say I want to kill my wife?
It's illegal.
It's indirect criminal contempt.
It's one of the only sentences that I'm not allowed to say.
Now it was okay for me to say it right then because I was just telling you that it's illegal for me to say I want to kill my wife.
I'm not actually saying it.
I'm just letting you know that it's illegal for me to say that.
It's kind of like a public service.
I'm letting you know so that you don't accidently go out and say something like that
Um, what's interesting is that it's very illegal to say I really, really think someone out there should kill my wife.
That's illegal.
Very, very illegal.
But not illegal to say with a mortar launcher.
Because that's its own sentence.
It's an incomplete sentence but it may have nothing to do with the sentence before that. So that's perfectly fine. Perfectly legal.
I also found out that it's incredibly illegal, extremely illegal, to go on Facebook and say something like the best place to fire a mortar launcher at her house would be from the cornfield behind it because of easy access to a getaway road and you'd have a clear line of sight through the sun room.
Insanely illegal.
Ridiculously, wrecklessly, insanely illegal.
Yet even more illegal to show an illustrated diagram.
Exhibit
Insanely illegal.
Ridiculously, horribly felonious.
Cause they will come to my house in the middle of the night and they will lock me up.
Extremely against the law.
Uh, one thing that is technically legal to say is that we have a group that meets Fridays at my parent's house and the password is sic simper tyrannis.
Tara Elonis testified at trial that she took these statements seriously, saying, "I felt like I was being stalked. I felt extremely afraid for mine and my children's and my families' lives." Trial Tr. 97, Oct. 19, 2011. Ms. Elonis further testified that Elonis rarely listened to rap music, and that she had never seen Elonis write rap lyrics during their seven years of marriage. She explained that the lyric form of the statements did not make her take the threats any less seriously.

On November 15 Elonis posted on his Facebook page:
Fold up your PFA and put it in your pocket Is it thick enough to stop a bullet?
Try to enforce an Order
That was improperly granted in the first place Me thinks the judge needs an education on true threat jurisprudence
And prison time will add zeroes to my settlement
Which you won't see a lick
Because you suck dog dick in front of children
* * *
And if worse comes to worse
I've got enough explosives to take care of the state police and the sheriff's department
[link: Freedom of Speech, www.wikipedia.org]
This statement was the basis both of Count 2, threats to Elonis's wife, and Count 3, threats to local law enforcement. A post the following day on November 16 involving an elementary school was the basis of Count 4:
That's it, I've had about enough
I'm checking out and making a name for myself Enough elementary schools in a ten mile radius to initiate the most heinous school shooting ever imagined
And hell hath no fury like a crazy man in a kindergarten class
The only question is . . . which one?
By this point FBI Agent Denise Stevens was monitoring Elonis's public Facebook postings, because Dorney Park contacted the FBI claiming Elonis had posted threats against Dorney Park and its employees on his Facebook page. After reading these and other Facebook posts by Elonis, Agent Stevens and another FBI agent went to Elonis's house to interview him. When the agents knocked on his door, Elonis's father answered and told the agents Elonis was sleeping. The agents waited several minutes until Elonis came to the door wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and no shoes. Elonis asked the agents if they were law enforcement and asked if he was free to go. After the agents identified themselves and told him he was free to go, Elonis went inside and closed the door. Later that day, Elonis posted the following on Facebook:
You know your shit's ridiculous when you have the FBI knockin' at yo' door
Little Agent Lady stood so close
Took all the strength I had not to turn the bitch ghost
Pull my knife, flick my wrist, and slit her throat Leave her bleedin' from her jugular in the arms of her partner
[laughter]
So the next time you knock, you best be serving a warrant
And bring yo' SWAT and an explosives expert while you're at it
Cause little did y'all know, I was strapped wit' a bomb
Why do you think it took me so long to get dressed with no shoes on?
I was jus' waitin' for y'all to handcuff me and pat me down
Touch the detonator in my pocket and we're all goin'
[BOOM!]
Post a Comment