- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A federal judge Wednesday agreed to dismiss the case against a Florida man accused of threatening to “exterminate” gay people in an August Facebook post, six weeks after prosecutors admitted their case relied on “weak” evidence.

Craig Jungwirth, 50, was arrested in September and charged with a federal count of making threatening communications after authorities said he used Facebook to taunt homosexuals in the wake of the massacre that claimed dozens of lives months earlier inside an Orlando nightclub.

“None of you deserve to live. If you losers thought the Pulse nightclub shooting was bad, wait till you see what I’m planning for Labor Day,” Mr. Jungwirth wrote online, according to a criminal complaint filed last year in federal court.

“You can’t never catch a genius from MIT and since you [expletive] aren’t dying from AIDS anymore, I have a better solution to exterminate you losers,” he wrote, prosecutors said.

The crude comments were allegedly directed to members of the LGBT community in Wilton Manors, a city with a substantial gay population roughly 200 miles south of the scene of the Orlando nightclub massacre in June.

South Florida authorities were made aware of the remarks on Aug. 30, and a criminal complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida the following week after a multiagency investigation indicated that Mr. Jungwirth was the owner of the Facebook account used to send the messages.

Nearly four months after charging him, prosecutors asked without explanation Tuesday to dismiss the single count against Mr. Jungwirth.

U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch signed off on their request Wednesday, formally ending a prosecution that would have carried a maximum penalty of 16 months in federal prison for Mr. Jung upon conviction.

An FBI spokesman referred the Orlando Sun-Sentinel to the U.S. Attorney’s Office upon being reached for comment Wednesday, who in turn declined to speak with respect to the sudden dismissal of charges.

As noted by the newspaper, however, Prosecutor Marc Anton said during a Nov. 15 hearing in Fort Lauderdale that investigators would continue to move forward with their case in spite of determining that the evidence against Mr. Jungwirth was “weak” and circumstantial.

Investigators had said they thought Mr. Jungwirth used roughly 59 different Facebook profiles, but couldn’t link the threat in question to any of his known accounts, the Sentinel reported.

Prosecutors cold potentially pursue charges against Mr. Jungwirth in the future if they find sufficient evidence, the Sentinel reported. In the meantime he’s expected to remain behind bars on unrelated misdemeanor charges brought by the state, according to the newspaper.

Mr. Jungwirth has been accused of harassing members of the South Florida gay community several times in the past, and has been the subject of six restraining orders in the past three years, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

Forty-nine people died after a lone gunman opened fire inside Pulse on June 12, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide