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Facebook threats against a high school land UK man in jail for two years

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School bus emergency exit (Flickr)
School bus emergency exit (Flickr)

Back in February, a British man was arrested for making anonymous Facebook posts claiming he planned to kill "at least 200" people at a school in Tennessee, and now the BBC is reporting the man will receive a prison sentence of more than two years for the threats. While it appears that 24-year-old Reece Elliot of South Shields, UK, had no designs on actually carrying out his threats, the highly specific nature of his Facebook posts warranted the jail term. Elliot joined a Facebook page that was set up as a tribute to a student at Warren County High School who died in a car accident and essentially began trolling — he insulted the student and then posted a message saying he planned to steal his dad's guns, kill him, and then kill as many people as he could before killing himself.

Because of his threats, more than 3,000 students were kept out of school in Warren County, with local officials immediately putting the schools on lockdown. From there, the local law enforcement worked with Homeland Security to track down Elliot, who will now have to serve 28 months in jail. Surprisingly, the judge said he took into account Elliot's early guilty plea and "genuine remorse" when handing down the sentence. It's much different than what happened recently to a UK man who posted an exasperated tweet that he would "blow the airport sky high!" He was arrested and convicted but eventually had the conviction overturned on the grounds that his tweet was clearly tongue-in-cheek rather than being truly menacing. However, Elliot's threat was far more explicit and detailed — and clearly caused serious concern. Given his guilty plea, it seems unlikely that Elliot will try and appeal the court's decision.