MELBOURNE, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A local man was found guilty of threatening the life of President Barack Obama on Facebook.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, defendant Christopher Castillo admitted to making the comments, in which he said he wanted find, then kill, the president while “watch[ing] the life disappear from his eyes.”
The federal jury charged with making a ruling on the case reportedly had to decide whether his words were a legitimate threat or idle speech, and decided his online post was better described as the former.
Assistant United States attorney Shawn Napier argued for the prosecution that Castillo, who was found out after a man reported him to the United States Secret Service, was indeed making significant threats against the life of Obama.
“[Castillo] was given every opportunity to back down and say it was a joke and he never [backed down],” Napier said. “It wasn’t sarcasm. It was a threat to kill the president.”
James Smith, the attorney acting as Castillo’s representation, reportedly referred to the Secret Service’s informant as an “Internet troll” and said his client’s words were nothing more than “political discussion” protected under the freedom of speech clause in the First Amendment.
He added, according to the Sentinel, “Mr. Castillo is not an assassin.”
Castillo is expected to be sentenced on April 26 of this year, the paper learned.