• Friends defend teen charged with posting threats on Facebook

    By: Eric Philips


    PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. - Friends of a teen jailed over perceived threats to his high school posted on his Facebook page said the teen’s posts were taken out of context.

    “He’s a big joker. Really, a big joker,” 15-year-old Anitra Malone said.

    Dustin England, 17, was arrested Tuesday night. The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office said England made violent threats on his Facebook page against students at Hiram High School, where he is a freshman.

    “Dustin is a really sweet kid. He really is. He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Malone said.

    Authorities said another student at the school saw England’s posts on Facebook and alerted their mother, who called the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office.

    “I read the posts and some of the things that he said were very detailed,” Corp. Ashley Henson of the Sheriff’s Office said.

    England’s best friend, Alex McCoy, said the situation is a major misunderstanding.

    "A girl got on there and was joking about one of the songs that he made, ‘cause he's a musician, and she said she was going to start a revolution and he said, ‘Then I'm going to come shoot you up tomorrow.' From what I've heard, that’s exactly what happened and somebody took it out of context and called the police," McCoy said. "He was apologizing. He was saying that he didn't mean it to offend anybody."

    The posts have been removed, but there are plenty of messages on England’s Facebook page supporting him.

    “We just want to encourage teens that when they make statements on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, we take them seriously,” Henson said.

    “He just put the wrong thing on Facebook. And that’s it. Every kid makes a mistake. Every person makes a mistake. And this is just one little measly mistake,” Malone said.

    England remains at the Paulding County Detention Center charged with making terrorist threats.

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