Miami Student Avoids Jail in Obama Threat

20-year-old who posted Obama Facebook threat gets home confinement, probation

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    The college student who pleaded guilty to posting threatening messages against President Barack Obama during a trip to Miami earlier this year won't face prison time, a judge ruled Wednesday. Joaquin Amador Serrapio Jr., 21, was sentenced to four months home confinement, three years probation and 250 hours of community service, after pleading guilty in May to one count of threatening to kill or harm the president. Serrapio told NBC 6 South Florida that it was "just a sarcastic comment."

    The college student who pleaded guilty to posting threatening messages against President Barack Obama during a trip to Miami earlier this year won't face prison time, a judge ruled Wednesday.

    Joaquin Amador Serrapio Jr., 21, was sentenced to four months home confinement, three years probation and 250 hours of community service, after pleading guilty in May to one count of threatening to kill or harm the president.

    Miami Student Pleads Guilty To Obama Threat

    [MI] Miami Student Pleads Guilty To Obama Threat
    A 20-year-old college student who told investigators he was merely trying to get a reaction from President Barack Obama's supporters pleaded guilty Wednesday to posting threatening messages against the president on Facebook. The student's attorney Alan Ross speaks in court.

    He'll also have to speak to high school and college students on the dangers of online postings, U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke ruled Wednesday.

    Man Accused of Obama Threat Pleads Not Guilty

    [MI] Man Accused of Obama Threat Pleads Not Guilty
    A Miami man accused of threatening to kill President Barack Obama appeared in federal court on Friday and entered a not guilty plea. Joaquin Amador Serrapio Jr., 20, was arrested last month for making threats against Obama during the president's trip to Miami in February. His attorney Alan Ross said his client had no intention of hurting the president and he wants to apologize to Obama, his community and his family.

    "At the time, it was just a sarcastic comment and I didn't think anyone was going to take it seriously. I honestly thought it was funny at the time,  I didn't realize it had consequences," Serrapio said after Wednesday's hearing."You just have to be careful what you put up on social media. Whatever you put on twitter or Facebook that is your resume for the rest of your live when it comes to getting jobs and everything else and a lot of people don't realize that."

    Serrapio had been facing up to five years in federal prison.

    Federal prosecutors say Serrapio, a student at Miami-Dade College, posted threats on Facebook in February coinciding with Obama's appearance at the University of Miami.

    “Who wants to help assassinate Obummer while hes at UM this week?" Serrapio wrote on a Facebook account on Feb. 21 under the alias "Jay Valor," according to the criminal complaint.

    Agents Had to Act Against Serrapio: Experts

    "If anyones going to UM to see obama today, get ur phones out an record. Cause at any moment im gonna put a bullet through his head and u don't wanna miss that! Youtube!" he wrote two days later, according to the complaint.

    That same day, after receiving information from the Coral Gables Police Department, federal agents raided Serrapio's home he shares with his mother in the 200 block of Southwest 136th Place in Miami, the complaint said.

    Serrapio's attorney, Alan Ross, said his client had no intention of hurting the president and thought it was a joke.

    According to a defendant's sentencing memorandum submitted earlier this month, Serrapio passed a polygraph examination in March that showed he meant the threat as a joke. The memorandum also said he passed a mental health assessment.

    "Joaquin wrote letters of his sincere apology to both the President and the Secret Service," the memorandum said. "In those letters he recognizes and acknowledges the consequences of his foolish prank and most sincerely asks for forgiveness."

    The memorandum had asked for a probation term for Serrapio without jail time.

    "All of the evidence shows this to be a matter of misplaced humor with absolutely no intention other than to be controversial. This is truly a great kid who did something stupid," the memorandum said. "A second chance would be appropriate here."

    Judge Cooke told Serrapio that when he decided to do a dumb thing, he hit the jackpot.

    "Everyone had treated Joaquin fairly and he has learned a very important lesson.  We are very grateful for the ruling that the court made," Ross said.

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