No charges against students after online death threats

The threats were in a chat on an app called Discord.

FAUQUIER CO., VA (WUSA9) - The Fauquier County Sheriff's Office says they don't have enough evidence to criminally charge a group of Liberty High School Students who posted death threats about another student in a group chat. 

The threats were in a chat on an app called Discord. The students named the chat 'Operation Will to Kill.' One of the students in the chat shared the conversation with the student being threatened, who eventually went to school authorities. 

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On Oct. 2, a Liberty High School administrator contacted the Fauquier County Sheriff's Office about the online conversation between students. 

The school sent out an email alerting parents about the incident letting them know there was no real threat and authorities were investigating. 

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The conversation took place among six Liberty High School students, all juveniles, according to Fauquier Sheriff's Sgt. James Hartman. 

Friday, the Sheriff's office released a two-page statement explaining why charges were not filed against the students. 

"The law criminalizing threats of death or bodily injury does not require that threats of this nature be communicated directly to the intended recipient. However, the law does require proof that the accused intended to make and communicate the threat and that the threat was made and communicated," Hartman wrote. 

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The statement went on to say: 

"Although there are comments in the chat about the killing, these comments were not directed to the other student and were not posted in a public forum where the student would have likely seen them. There is no evidence the participants in this conversation intended to communicate a threat directly or indirectly to the student, and the student was not invited into the chat," Hartman wrote. 

We reached out to the school system to see what disciplinary action may be taken against the students, but we have not heard back yet. 

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Even though no criminal charges are being filed, the Sheriff's Office says it is in consultation with the Juvenile Court Services Unit to explore other avenues, such as the Restorative Justice Program. 

Read Fauquier County Sheriff's Office press release here: http://bit.ly/2g1gsly

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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