FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The cousin of a West Broward High School student accused of posting a threatening message on Snapchat defended the 17-year-old suspect in court Tuesday.
Zachary Prieto appeared before a Broward County judge, speaking on behalf of his cousin, Jonathan Valdivia.
"He's a really good person," Prieto told Local 10 News outside the courtroom. "He wouldn't do something this stupid."
Judge Elijah Williams ordered Valdivia to serve three weeks of home confinement, to have no access to computers, social media or guns, to undergo a psychological evaluation and not to go back to school without the district's permission.
Pembroke Pines police said Valdivia posted a Snapchat video of himself posing with a semi-automatic handgun. The caption read: "Me if U don't vote for me for Senioritis."
"It was up there for 10 minutes," Prieto said. "One of his friends told him to take it down because it was insensitive. He agreed and took it down right away and he regrets posting it."
But in that short amount of time, a student saw the post and reported it to the school. Valdivia was arrested Monday on a charge of making a false report.
Valdivia's attorney said the teenager has one prior offense for petty theft, which the judge said could be a disadvantage for him.
"Every serial shooter and school shooter and so forth I've ever heard of had little or no record," Williams said.
Prieto maintained that his cousin is "totally against school shootings."
"One of his best friends, she's a Parkland survivor," Prieto said.
Because Valdivia turns 18 next month, his attorney told Valdivia's family that he could be tried as an adult, so a special attorney will be assigned to the case.
"Yeah, he did post the video on Snapchat, like a stupid kid does, but I just want to see that his life doesn't get ruined by it," Prieto said.
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