18-year-old Nicholas Godfrey has been arrested and charged with first-degree attempt to solicit and conspiring to commit murder. Godfrey tried to use Instagram to order a hit on an employee of his high school.
Fivay High School is located in the Census Designated Place (CDP) of Hudson, approximately 45 minutes outside Tampa, Florida.
The messages, sent from Instagram account @fivayfanclub, included statements like:
“I need a guy who could kill someone….”
…and an offer to pay $100,000 for the school employee’s “head.”
He followed that up with:
“No joke, I need him eliminated as soon as possible.”
The Instagram account was traced to Godfrey after school officials were made aware of the messages. Police were called and the IP address used to log into the account was traced to Godfrey’s house.
After being caught red handed and interviewed by police, Godfrey admitted that he was the one who sent the messages.
He was not yet under arrest during this interview, but the criminal complaint said he:
“freely provided a written statement documenting his solicitation for murder.”
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco refused to reveal the identity, or even the job, of the school staff member who was targeted. He did have a warning for anyone else who might be thinking of doing something similar, though.
“You threaten a member of the school district, who’s out there trying to do their job, to educate children, to be part of that process, we’re gonna come hunt you down.”
Detective David Dacey said when Godfrey was confronted by law enforcement, he claimed that the messages were nothing more than a joke and he had no intentions to follow through on the hit.
“After speaking with Mr. Godfrey, he did not have any clear direction or plan as to follow through with this.”
Nocco said that Godfrey’s record:
“You look at his past, it wasn’t like this was a bad student. The record did not show somebody who had consistently bad, terrible issues.”
The young man’s parents were apparently “shocked” that he could do such a thing.
Nocco followed up with a warning for others.
“It doesn’t matter if someone says ‘I was joking.’ It doesn’t matter what their intent is. When you do it and you post it out there on social media, you committed that crime.”
You can view the whole press conference with the Pasco County Sheriff below.
The Sheriff’s office followed up earlier this week with a post to their Facebook page warning other teens that “joking” threats are still threats and will be handled as such.
According to Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning, Godfrey has not yet been expelled from Fivay High School.
He pled for more involvement from parents to prevent a similar incident in the future.
“I am begging and pleading with parents to step up and step in, and help us keep order and keep civility in our schools, not just at Fivay, but across this district.”
Pasco County arrest records show that Godfrey was released on Friday on $10,000 bail, but it is still unclear whether he has retained legal representation as he does not have an attorney listed with the Pasco County Clerk.
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