Man charged with threatening to kill Obama on Facebook, Twitter

Summary:A man was arrested last week for two Facebook posts: he said he would a) assassinate US President Barack Obama by b) putting a bullet through Obama's head, and upload the incident to YouTube.

20-year-old Joaquin Amador Serrapio Jr. was arrested by federal agents for allegedly threatening to kill U.S. President Barack Obama during a presidential fundraising trip to South Florida last week. The Secret Service was tipped off by local police about his messages, which were made on a Facebook account under the alias "Jay Valor." Neighbors said Serrapio's street was full of federal agents and county police the day Obama made a big policy speech on energy at the University of Miami and held two fundraisers in the area.

As you can see in the screenshot above, he posted the following Facebook status last Tuesday: "Who wants to help assasinate Obummer while hes at UM this week?" On Thursday, he went even further, according to a federal criminal complaint released today and rehosted by CBS News (PDF): "If anyones going to UM to see obama today, get ur phones out and record. Cause at any moment im gonna put a bullet through his head and u don't wanna miss that! Youtube!"

The Florida man's house was raided on Thursday and he was taken into custody before he could make any attempt to harm the president, officials said. The Secret Service found an Apple iPad that showed the Facebook messages along with a sniper rifle-style Airsoft pellet gun and a handgun-style Airsoft pellet gun, according to court records. After he was taken into custody, Serrapio admitted to agents that he maintained the "Jay Valor" Facebook account, which he chose because he fronts a local bar band called the Jay Valor Band, and had posted the statements.

He also used the Jay_Valor Twitter account to post his hateful thoughts. Here are some select tweets:

Secret service where u at! I threatened ur precious tyrant! Ull b sorry u didnt come lookong for me in a couple of hours ;) Why can't all girls be white? :( Sucks that theres noo genuine churches in miami! :( why are ppl such haters and hypocrytes Ron Paul 2012! Cmon guys this might be the only chance for us to get this right! Martin Luther King day: the day where black people forget it was a white man that abolished slavery. Ted Nugent needs to be president or at least be vice president to Ron Paul lol hes such a badass. Ron Paul 2012 babyy Last time i got chased by monkeys like this i yelled the N word at a martin luther king festival. If we wanted a n***** who would just practice his golf game and not do his job we might as well elected Tiger Fucking Woods and not Obama." If your not voting for Ron paul next election, I suggest you do this country a favor and not vote at all. Who wants to go out and hang some yankees with me? Lets put some south in their mouth Obama, how does it feel knowing assassination is the only thing that can better your presidency?

When agents searched Serrapio's cellphone, they found more messages in an exchange with someone identified only as N.M. Here are a few excerpts:

Serrapio: I know i can b killed by this communist administration and im challenging them. Lets see what those motherf****** got. Serrapio: Hell yeah im a Boss an the secret service will find that out soon. N.M.: Will they see it? Serrapio: I hope :) i wanna kill at least two of them when they get here.

Making threats against the president is a federal felony that could bring a five-year prison term if convicted (it does not matter if you do not really intend to carry out the threat). Serrapio pleaded not guilty to a federal magistrate. His cash bond was set at $20,000 with an additional $50,000 surety bond signed by his parents, according to court records. He has since bonded out of jail.

Serrapio is due to be arraigned in federal court on March 9, 2012.

Secret Service and FBI agents keep close tabs on anyone who they believe could be a credible threat to the president. Given that the bond amount was relatively low, this was likely not a particularly serious threat against the president. On the other hand, officials clearly decided to play it safe since Serrapio was still enough of a danger to be taken into custody. Better be safe than sorry.

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Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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