31-year-old Kentucky resident James Evans, who was released from jail earlier this month after spending eight days locked up for posting Exodus lyrics to Facebook, reportedly faced up to 10 years in prison for the post. Evans was charged with a Class C felony for “terroristic threatening”, which comes with the possibility of between five and 10 years prison time.
“I couldn’t believe it got that out of hand,” Evans tells Billboard in a new interview. “At the same time it’s worrisome because I have a family to take care of. I have a three-month-old son.” Evans, a metal fan who often posts lyrics from his favourite bands to his personal Facebook page, recounts his arrest in the interview.
According to Evans, after posting the lyrics, “Student bodies lying dead in the halls, a blood splattered treatise of hate / Class dismissed is my hypothesis, gun fire ends in debate“, from Exodus’ song Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer), police showed up at his mother’s house.
After speaking with Evans directly at his home and asking him if he planned on harming anyone, police issued a report and left, only to return the next day while Evans was at his job as a screenprinter. Police finally showed up at his workplace the next morning on 26th August, issuing Evans with a warrant for his arrest, saying he “threatened to kill students and/or staff at school”.
“They never even cuffed me, just put me in the back of the car,” Evans tells Billboard. “They knew I wasn’t dangerous. They were kind of shocked, too, because they thought it had been resolved. They just had to serve it because it was in their jurisdiction.”
Though Evans assumed he would be released following his court day on 27th August, he was instead charged with the Class C felony. He was eventually handed a deferment for six months during a second court date a week later. Evans is now required to undergo mental evaluation. If he complies with the court, the charges will be dropped from his record.
Both David Greene, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Amber Duke, communications manager at the ACLU of Kentucky, have criticised the conduct of local police in the handling of Evans’ case. Meanwhile, the members of Exodus took to Facebook to distance themselves from “terrorists, threats or bullying” and described Evans’ case as an “unfortunate situation”.