Student Changes Plea To ‘Guilty’ For Threatening Obama
The Miami Dade College student who threatened to kill President Barack Obama via Facebook and Twitter changed his plea from ‘not-guilty’ to ‘guilty’ in federal court.
On May 23, Kendall Campus student Joaquin Amador Serrapio Jr. pleaded guilty to posting threatening messages against the president on the social media sites.
Court documents said Serrapio told investigators he was merely trying to get a reaction from Obama's supporters.
According to the indictment, Serrapio was charged with two counts of inflicting bodily harm against the President. He was originally charged with threatening the agents as well, but prosecutor Seth Schlessinger said that charge will be dropped.
According to the Secret Service, Serrapio could get up to five years in federal prison for pleading guilty to a single count of threatening to kill or harm the president, but likely will get less time, Serrapio’s attorney Alan Ross said.
Sentencing is set for Aug. 22 before U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke, records show.
The College declined to comment on his enrollment status.
Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said “there's no evidence that Serrapio intended to carry out any threat against the president and Obama was never in any danger.”
Serrapio is a music business major who also fronts a rock group called the "J. Valor Band."
Using the "Jay Valor" page on Facebook, records say Serrapio posted two threatening messages around the time Obama visited South Florida in February to deliver a speech at the University of Miami.
In the first post on Feb. 21, Serrapio said: "Who wants to help me assassinate Obummer while hes at UM this week?"
Then on Feb. 23, the day of Obama's visit, the Secret Service said Serappio posted a second threat.
"If anyones going to UM to see Obama today, get ur phones out and record. Cause at any moment im gonna put a bullet through his head and u don't wanna miss that! Youtube!" the message said.
The Coral Gables Police Department said someone who saw the posts called the station. That’s when the Secret Service dispatched two agents to Serrapio's home, where Serrapio and his mother agreed to allow a search.
Records show only an iPad was found with one of the Facebook postings on it and a cell phone with a text message from one of Serrapio's friends who had seen the messages.
"LOL you can get in trouble for sayin' that," the text said, according to court documents.
Serrapio replied that he was "challenging" the Secret Service and also issued threats against any agents who came looking for him, court documents show.
"I wanna kill at least two of them when they get here," Serrapio said in that text.
Leary said the only weapons Serrapio possessed were two pellet guns.
Serrapio said during the hearing he had just completed his second year of college.
Serrapio and Ross declined to comment and did not return any phone calls and emails.
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