LONDON – A British man was sentenced Tuesday to more than two years in jail for threatening to kill 200 people in a Facebook posting that caused thousands of Tennessee children to stay home from school.
Reece Elliott from South Shields in northeast England pleaded guilty in April to making malicious comments.
The online posting threatening gun violence was made anonymously in February on a memorial page set up for a Tennessee student who had died.
Judge James Goss sentenced 24-year-old Elliott to two years and four months in prison, telling him the "grossly offensive" comments were driven by "no more than self-indulgent nastiness."
Elliott, who wept upon sentencing, had written of killing his father first — then "going in fast."
"I'm gonna kill hopefully at least 200 before I kill myself," he posted on the memorial page. "So you want to tell the deputy, I'm on my way."
The threat led to 2,900 children missing class in Warren County amid heightened tensions following the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 26 people.
Defense lawyer John Wilkinson told the judge at Newcastle Crown Court that Elliott could not explain his behavior, which the defendant called "idiotic, childish and pathetic."
Detectives said they were about to arrest Elliott before he turned himself in at a police station.