Fla. man convicted of threatening President Obama
Broward County man threatened president on Facebook, prosecutors say
A Brevard County man has been found guilty on Tuesday of threatening to kill President BarackObama days before the 2012 election.
Christopher Castillo, 28, was arrested in November 2012 after prosecutors say he posted a message on his Facebook page reading, "That's the last straw, if he gets reelected I'm going to hunt him down and kill him and watch the life disappear from his eyes."
The verdict was read at the federal courthouse in downtown Orlando Tuesday just before 6 p.m.
During the first day of testimony, attorneys for Castillo told the jury their client is an uneducated "loser" who would never have carried out his threat. Castillo and his wife, mother and father all took the stand as defense witnesses.
Agents went on to testify that when they followed up on Castillo's threats, the Brevard County man told them, "I wouldn't call it a threat, more of a promise. I'd be more that happy to take a few of them with me."
Castillo's defense attorneys say that Castillo didn't realize the seriousness of what he was saying and wouldn't have gone through with the threats. One public defender said that Castillo made those comments when he was unemployed and unable to control his anger.
The defense also said Castillo was the victim of an "Internet troller," who they say purposely baited him into making inflammatory comments.
The Secret Service was notified of the post and agents went to question Castillo at his Melbourne home. Agents say Castillo told them if Obama were standing in front of him he would slap him and beat him up and that it didn't matter to him that threatening the president was a violation of federal law.
Castillo was angry at the president for his views on healthcare, according to agents.
The defense also said the government was taking the Facebook comments out of context and that Castillo was responding to a political message a friend posted on his Facebook page.
Government lawyers said the conversations are irrelevant and that the actual threat against the president is what matters to them.
Castillo faces up to five years in prison. A sentencing date hasn't been set yet.
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