JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 33-year-old Army veteran was sentenced in August to five years in prison, followed by two years of house arrest and eight years' probation, after he pleaded guilty in July to making terroristic threats.
When Nicholas Rountree gets out of prison, he is prohibited from using alcohol or illegal drugs, possessing a firearm and going on social media. He also has to go through mental health treatment.
Rountree was arrested Dec. 13, 2018, after the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Intelligence Unit found disturbing posts on his Twitter account, including, "I intend to kill American woman at the market, I intend to kill American children as they play, I intend to kill Muslims as they pray."
Rountree pleaded guilty this summer after he sent the judge a handwritten letter in which he said it was never his intent to harm anyone and he was no murderer or terrorist.
In Rountree's letter to the judge, he said that he wanted to fight in the war against terrorism, but soon became disillusioned, humiliated and dehumanized by his treatment in the Army. He said team leaders recounted stories of "pillaging, torturing and murdering civilians." He said he realized he had no place among such people, but was afraid to speak up and told his team leaders he was going to kill himself. He said the situation left him "broken utterly."
He said in December, he couldn't hold it in anymore, and that's when he fired off a series of tweets to the Army, President Donald Trump and other government officials.
Rountree told the judge finding the courage to speak up gave him "a peace I have not known in nine years. Even in being in jail, I have felt a great burden lifted from me."
Rountree wrote the threat he made was adapted from an Army cadence he learned in basic training, one that glorifies mass murder. He told the judge he wants healing, not revenge, and wants to believe in his country and the Army again.