Admitting he threatened to kill 200 Warren County students just to see what kind of response he would get, Facebook terrorist Reece Elliott entered guilty pleas to an incident which kept thousands of students home out of fear of a school shooting in February.
“He said he was a part-time troll and decided to post offensive comments to see what kind of reaction he could provoke,” said prosecutor Gary Buckley of the 24-year-old unemployed father of one who lives in South Shields, England. “He confirmed he did make the postings to Facebook and therefore did make these threats, but he didn’t expect the threats to be taken seriously and didn’t expect them to cause the reaction they did.”
Reece entered his guilty pleas before the Newcastle Crown Court to one count of making a threat to kill and eight counts of sending grossly offensive messages. He will be sentenced June 10 but will remain in custody until the time of his sentencing.
Elliott posted his threats and insults on a tribute site for a Warren County teen who was killed in a pickup wreck. While at first heaping insults on the deceased girl’s memory, Elliott turned to making terrorist threats during conversations with others on the website.
Specifically Elliott claimed he would kill his father and take his guns and come to Warren County and kill 200 people.
“I’m killing 200 people minimum at school,” Elliott claimed using a false name to make the threat. “I’m going to be on CNN.”
His threats came in the wake of the Newtown shootings where 20 students and six staff members were killed. He was arrested two days after the threat when the posts were tracked back to his account.
“He was asked if he knew what had been going on recently and he said he was well aware of the recent incidents following the shootings and schools,” Buckley said.
His threats prompted a 700 percent surge in absenteeism in Warren County schools the day after the threat was posted as word of the threat spread quickly on social media. In the end, nearly 3,000 students missed classes.
Judge James Goss of the Queen’s Court warned Elliott he should expect a prison sentence for his crimes when he appears for sentencing in June.
“You will remain in custody until the sentencing hearing, as I’m sure you will appreciate the offenses are serious matters,” Goss declared. “A prison sentence is of course the inevitable sentence in respect to these offenses.”
Local authorities have agreed to let British officials handle prosecuting the case, opting not to bring Elliott here to face trial.