Austin Kyle Connolly, 23, was found guilty Tuesday for making terroristic threats against Schreiber Foods and sentenced to 6 years in prison by an Erath County jury.
Connolly was indicted in August 2017 for posting threats against Schreiber on Facebook after being terminated from his job there. He was sentenced to two six-year terms set to run concurrently.
The jury heard testimony from Schreiber’s ISP analyst Tuesday morning, which showed that Connolly’s access card had been used to try and gain entry inside the building after he was terminated. Connolly’s card, however, had been deactivated.
A co-worker of Connolly’s also testified and Facebook messages between the two were displayed for the jury.
“Well I could just kill them like I was planning on, but my keycard was deactivated,” District Attorney Alan Nash read from the messages.
The co-worker said she didn’t believe Connolly had any intention of doing harm and that was just his sense of humor.
“I thought it was funny. I’m not going to shoot the place up,” read Connolly’s message. “I’m not that mad. I would tell you (referring to the co-worker) to call in first.”
Connolly’s grandfather also testified that the gun Connolly held in the photograph was stolen from him back in October 2016 and that his grandson is a, “fun-loving" and "hard-working.”
In Nash’s closing statements he pointed out that even if Connolly thought it was a joke, referencing “full auto,” “spray and pray,” and “ammonia tanks,” intentionally caused fear to the public.
“This is not a joke. This sort of sense of humor in our society today is against the law. We never know what’s going to happen,” Nash said. “That’s our nature, to give somebody the benefit of the doubt until they do something. We can’t allow people to respond this way.”