Last month, Boston police apprehended Kevin Norton and James Stumbo, two men who traveled to the Pokémon World Championships with multiple weapons including a hunting knife, two high-powered guns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Prior to traveling to the tournament, Norton and Stumbo made a number of threatening posts on Facebook claiming that they planned on "killing the competition."
Even though the possible massacre was thwarted, prosecutors are taking the threats very seriously and treating the pair as highly dangerous.
“Unfortunately, we live in a world of keyboard commandos, individuals who post things without further thought of where they go. This isn’t that case,’’ Assistant District Attorney Joseph Janezic said in court today. “This is a case of these two young men making some threats and references to weapons, intimidating on social media, intimidating specific individuals on social media, and then driving 25 hours from Iowa with two guns which they posted and displayed in a post saying ‘Here we come, Boston.'"
In his opening arguments, Janezic described Norton and Stumbo as two people who were absolutely prepared to follow through with the threats they'd made. Norton was previously banned from a Pokémon Facebook group after repeatedly bullying another member. According to Janezic, Norton vowed that he would track down that same person and shoot him on the Friday of the gathering.
Steven Goldwyn, Stumbo's attorney, is claiming that his client never actually intended on hurting anyone and was merely engaging in online smack talk of no real consequence.
“If they really had the true intent to do anything about it, why leave [the weapons] in the car?” Goldwyn asked. “It’s absolutely possible, but it’s mere speculation that this vague bravado talk on Facebook was going to be carried out.”
Thomas C. Horgan, the judge overseeing the hearing, was unmoved by Goldwyn's defense and moved to keep Stumbo and Norton in jail without bail for the next four months while they await their trial.