- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A Hollywood teenager attending court Friday for his sentencing on a guilty plea to illegally using someone else’s credit card was locked up instead on a new charge of threatening a judge, a crime that prosecutors allege was carried out last month on Facebook.
A purported printout from Jake Christopher Horn’s page on the social networking website includes his comment of “I feel like killin the judge and state attorney at the same damn time,” a comment that St. Mary’s elected prosecutor said was inferred as directed toward the jurist who heard Horn’s guilty plea, Circuit Judge Karen H. Abrams.
State’s Attorney Richard Fritz (R) said outside the county courthouse that his assistant prosecutor who handled the case isn’t protected by the threats statute, based on an appeals court ruling involving an alleged threat against one of Fritz’s former prosecutors.
Horn, 19, was in St. Mary’s jail on Monday and accompanied by a public defender when Judge David W. Densford ordered that Horn remain in custody in lieu of $25,000 on the threat indictment issued earlier this month by grand jurors.
Sarah M. Elkins, the public defender, said that the charge “is based on a Facebook post that was a quote from a rapper. I don’t believe it was a direct threat.”
Densford replied that only three states in the nation call their prosecutors by the title of state’s attorney.
“I doubt very much that’s a quote from a song,” Densford said.
Horn said he saw the new indictment posted on a state judiciary website, but “they didn’t let me turn myself in” before he was taken into custody Friday outside a courtroom. “I was just listening to a song,” he added.
“The state of Maryland takes threatening a public official seriously, and so do I,” Densford said. “God forbid, if you took a single act to try to carry it out, ... you would not have a bond.”
Fritz said outside the courthouse, “The point is whether [the statement] places someone in apprehension of fear. It’s not important to me if he was just joking or quoting a rap song. There’s a real problem today with kids putting on Facebook anything they want to. If they do, they’re going to have to pay the consequences.”
Online bullying is the most prevalent example, the prosecutor said, and “this is just a little extension of that.”
Daniel Slade, Horn’s lawyer in the credit card case and a pending burglary trial involving a handgun theft, said Friday that the teenager also will have his “day in court” on the threat charge.
“Mr. Horn is presumed to be innocent until proven otherwise,” Slade said at his law office. “I look forward to a spirited hearing with Mr. Fritz on this.”