Rockingham teen sentenced for posting video to Snapchat threatening school shooting

Marcus Jacob Matthews leaves court on Friday. Photo: Gabrielle Jeffery
Marcus Jacob Matthews leaves court on Friday. Photo: Gabrielle Jeffery

A ROCKINGHAM 18-year-old who posted a video depicting violence and threatening ‘a school shooting’ to Snapchat has been sentenced to 80 hours community service work.

Marcus Jacob Matthews pleaded guilty to creating a false belief and possessing a controlled weapon when he appeared at Rockingham Magistrates Court today .

The prosecutor said police were made aware in the early hours of February 16 that a video had been produced depicting violence with a replica gun the day before.

In the video it was said “there would be a school shooting” and “the school would need to be placed into lockdown”.

The video was posted a day after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in America, in which 17 people died.

A search warrant was executed at Matthews’ home shortly after and officers from the Tactical Response Group (TRG) forced their way into his home.

Matthews made full admissions immediately stating that he had done it as a joke and had tried to recall the video but could not.

He told police that he realised when the TRG arrived how seriously it could be taken.

Police found a small replica handgun along with ammunition at his house.

His lawyer said the facts were accepted and that he felt very remorseful for his actions.

She asked for a community based order for Matthews.

“His actions showed a lack of insight and also immaturity,” she said.

The prosecutor opposed a Community Based Order due to the timing of the video.

“The timing of the video was very poor in this time of school shootings – it would have been viewed as being extremely violent if seen by anyone,” she said.

Magistrate Vivien Edwards said he had pleaded guilty early.

“You created a false belief by uploading a video to Snapchat that said there would be a school shooting and that a handgun was in the video,” she said.

“I’m told it was a replica and you did not believe the video would create such alarm.”

“You thought it was a joke and I’m told you were unaware there was school shooting in the United States just a day before.”

She placed him on a nine-month Intensive Supervision Order with programs to help him and ordered he serve 80 hours of community service work.

She ordered the gun and ammunition be destroyed and that he pay $330 in costs.