Friday, July 05, 2013
Second teen spends months in jail for sarcastic video game threat
Just days after multiple news outlets reported the story of a Texas teen jailed for making a sarcastic threat online, a Mississippi mother facing a nearly identical situation gave an exclusive interview to The Daily Caller News Foundation about her son’s lengthy incarceration.
Josh Pillault was arrested last October for threatening to kill people and destroy buildings. At the time of his arrest, he was 19-years-old, and an avid video game player.
The threats were made while he was playing “Runescape,” an online multiplayer fantasy game. Another player began antagonizing him, and eventually told him to kill himself.
Irritated, Pillault said he would kill not just himself, but also take out the local high school. He also mentioned Columbine — the name of an infamous school shooting — according to reports.
It was the response that the other player had been hoping for, according to Pillault’s mother.
“His gleeful last words to Josh were ‘Knock, knock!’ which is a reference to the feds he sent our way,” wrote Stacey Pillault in an email to TheDC News Foundation.
Federal authorities raided the Pillault home a few days later, arresting Josh. He has been in jail ever since.
His lawyer argued that the threat was “idle or careless talk, exaggeration or something said in a joking manner.”
Josh possessed none of the materials he would need to carry out such an attack, nor was there any good reason to believe he was serious, said his mother.
“His doctors have said he wouldn’t hurt himself or anyone else,” she wrote. “We actually have teachers who were willing to testify that they knew it wasn’t a true threat as soon as they found out it was Josh. Even his fellow inmates and guards have commented on how they can’t believe he is still in there.”
Josh turned 20 in December — behind bars. As of next week, his incarceration will have lasted 9 months.