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QuoteIn an online world where anyone can hide behind a mask of virtual anonymity, it can be easy to get carried away and do things deemed unconscionable in real life. However, one Mississippi man is facing up to ten years in jail after a half-hearted threat made in a game brought the federal authorities to his door.
In October 2012, Josh Pillault, 19, was playing Runescapeâ€"an online, multiplayer fantasy game in which users all over the globe interact and fight in a virtual worldâ€"when a fellow player antagonized him so badly, Pillault threatened to perpetrate a Columbine-like attack on his local high school.
Soon after, federal officers searched Pillaultâ€™s home and arrested him in connection with the threat, despite not finding any materials he could have used to attack the school, nor any reason why he actually would.
â€œHis doctors have said he wouldnâ€™t hurt himself or anyone else,â€ wrote Stacey Pillault, Joshâ€™s mother, to The Daily Caller. â€œWe actually have teachers who were willing to testify that they knew it wasnâ€™t a true threat as soon as they found out it was Josh. Even his fellow inmates and guards have commented on how they canâ€™t believe he is still in there.â€
Even so, the authorities retained him, and Pillault plead guilty to a charge of that can land him in jail for the next decade and levy a $250,500 fine with the hopes of a lighter sentence.