Belton High teen charged with felony after threat on Snapchat

jlondberg@kcstar.comFebruary 9, 2017 

SNAPCHAT 2

An alleged Snapchat message threatening violence at Belton High School has led to a student’s arrest. Jashon Jevon Taylor is being charged with making a terrorist threat, which is a felony.

FILE PHOTO ILLUSTRATION J. EMILIO FLORES — The New York Times

An alleged Snapchat message threatening violence at Belton High School has led to a student’s arrest. Jashon Jevon Taylor is being charged with making a terrorist threat, which is a felony.

Taylor, 17, was angry after the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, according to court documents. He took to Snapchat to vent, expressing his disdain for the Patriots and their fans.

“Let it be know im shooting Belton tomorrow or tuesday,” Taylor allegedly wrote late Sunday night, according to court documents. “Imma find every (person) bragging and blast them.”

The Belton Police Department questioned Taylor that evening, after a witness provided police a screenshot of his Snapchat.

The next morning, Jashon was detained, and he was charged that afternoon with making a terrorist threat.

Taylor waived his right to legal counsel and told Belton police investigators he was referring to Belton High School in the message. Taylor estimated 50 people had seen the threat before he was persuaded by friends to remove it, which he did about 15 minutes after posting, according to court documents.

Following Taylor’s threat, Lt. Brad Swanson with the Belton Police Department said two other threats were made by different individuals: a juvenile and a 17-year-old.

Swanson said none of the three students who made threats had the capability to carry them out.

The 17-year-old was apprehended Monday, but at this time has not been charged, according to Swanson, adding the student made the threat in comments on Facebook in a thread discussing Taylor.

“If you post something on Facebook or Snapchat, it’s open to hundreds if not thousands of people,” Swanson said. “If you have 1,800 friends (on Facebook), 1,800 people were just exposed to it, so now it’s a felony.”

Missouri law defines a terrorist threat as communication “with the purpose of frightening 10 or more people.” The threat must imply or directly express an intent to cause an incident that endangers life.

The Belton School District has released multiple statements to parents regarding the threats. In one, the district reported another threat made today at the Belton Middle School/Freshman Center. One student whispered in another’s ear not to come to school the next day and “showed a gesture of a gun,” according to the release.

Camera systems are being reviewed and Belton police are involved, the district said.

Belton Superintendent Andy Underwood said law enforcement increased their presence at the high school Monday. The high school and middle school both employ a full-time school resource officer.

“Sometimes kids don’t realize the magnitude of their comments, and in this day and age, a lot of it’s done via social media,” Underwood said, adding that students’ words and social media posts carry the potential for educational and legal consequences.

“It creates fear,” Underwood said of life-threatening remarks. “The safety of our students and staff is paramount, and these things just cannot be said or communicated.”

Jashon is facing a felony D offense, which carries a maximum term of seven years in prison. He was released from custody on a signature bond.

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