Trial Underway For Man Accused Of Threatening Parkland Families
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — Jury selection wrapped up Tuesday in the trial of a California man who is accused of using Instagram to send threatening messages to relatives and friends of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre victims starting three days before Christmas and stretching into the second week of January of this year.
Brandon Fleury of Orange County is accused of sending tagged Instagram messages to accounts used by relatives and friends of students who were killed in the mass shooting. The massacre took place on Valentine’s Day afternoon in the affluent Florida suburb of Parkland in 2018.
“One post threatened to kidnap the message recipients, while others sought to harass the recipients by repeatedly taunting the relatives and friends of the MSD victims, cheering the deaths of their loved ones and, among other things, asking them to cry,” court documents charged.
“I killed your loved ones hahaha,” one message said.
“Your grief is my joy,” said another. Still another read: “With the power of my AR-15, l erased their existence.” The latter message was followed by smiling, applause and handgun emojis, according to court documents.
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Fleury allegedly told FBI agents he was fascinated by the accused Parkland shooter and serial killers such as Ted Bundy. He allegedly used various profiles with variations on the name of the accused Parkland shooter, whose identify is being withheld by Patch based on requests from the families of the 17 students and faculty murdered in the attack.
Court documents said Fleury used “a handful of Instagram accounts” on a computer in his home, where he lives with his father and brother to “troll” the victims “and gain popularity.”
The FBI said Fleury “admitted to targeting family members who were ‘activists’ who had a significant social media presence.”
The victims complained to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in December, some 10 months after the shootings.
“Fleury did not show remorse for posting the comments but explained he would not follow through on the threats he communicated,” court documents said. “He claimed that his messages were not threats, but were ‘more like taunts.'”
Patch Editor Ashley Ludwig contributed to this report