A judge denied a motion to lower bond for a Florida Keys man accused of making online threats to Marathon High School just days after last month’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland.
Duviel Gonzalez, 19, has been held in county jail on Stock Island since he was arrested Feb. 17 on a combined $77,500 bond on a felony count of making written threats to kill or do bodily injury and a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge. Monroe County Circuit Judge Ruth Becker Tuesday agreed to lower the bond amount by $500 for the weed charge, but keep the rest.
“This is not a day … unfortunately, when such allegations can be accepted as idle threats,” Becker told Gonzalez’s attorney William Heffernan.
Gonzalez pleaded not guilty and said he was joking when he posted messages on Instagram threatening to shoot students at Marathon High. Underneath his profile bio, Gonzalez wrote, “Marathon, you’re next,” Assistant State Attorney Christine Poist said.
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Among the images Gonzalez posted was one of five shotguns. A caption on a second read, “Marathon High school, your on my list for 2 round,” and the third photo was of a white male holding a rifle with his face covered, with the caption, “Round 2 of Florida tomorrow.”
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations arrested Gonzalez the same day he made the posts after authorities received tips from several people who saw his Instagram account.
After writing, “Obviously can’t wait for these bad boys to go to work” underneath the photo of the five shotguns, Gonzalez included a blushing face emoji.
A 13-year-old girl questioned him in an instant message about making such posts three days after the Feb. 14 Stoneman Douglas murders, prompting Gonalez to respond, “LOL, you’ve earned yourself two in your face,” Poist said in court Tuesday.
After receiving the tips, investigators frantically searched for Gonzalez because there was a marching band event with a large attendance planned for that afternoon, which was a Saturday. The event went on as scheduled, but with a heavy police presence.
Sheriff’s Office Detective Rosemary Ponce was able to locate Gonzalez’s IP address after contacting Facebook, which is the parent company of Instagram. Police and federal agents arrested him at his girlfriend’s house on Big Pine Key. They also conducted a search, with his parents’ consent, at their home in Marathon.
Investigators did not find weapons at either home. The warrants were obtained using images and messages tipsters gave investigators, but the State Attorney’s Office has since issued a full subpoena to Instagram looking into Gonzalez’s online activities, Poist said.
Heffernan told Becker Tuesday that his client “foolishly received and passed on” posts made by someone else.
He said in the wake of Parkland, the posts were “bad timing.”
“He simply passed on an Instagram post somebody else originated,” Heffernan said.