10-year-old accused of mass shooting threat declines plea deal, says not guilty

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The 10-year-old charged with threatening a mass shooting at his Cape Coral elementary school says he’s not guilty.

Daniel Marquez entered the plea in Lee County court Monday morning and his family says they are ready to fight the charges.

As the family walked towards the door of the courtroom to enter that not-guilty plea, Daniel’s father Dereck Marquez, was about to grab the door handle, when the state offered a deal to avoid trial – a court diversion program.

Typically, charges are dropped when you successfully complete one of these programs.
 The father said no deal.

“I feel like it’s frustrating because he’s 10 years old, he didn’t do anything wrong. It should be clear, common sense should tell you. There’s nothing here and have a good day. But that’s not what’s happening,” Dereck Marquez said.

Instead, he says his son has been convicted and condemned in the social media court of public opinion, thanks to Sheriff Carmine Marceno’s Facebook and Tiktok posts.

Unless the State Attorney’s Office drops the charges, Marquez says the only way to clear his son’s name is to go to trial.

Leticia Kim is the legal director for the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism, which is supporting the family. She explains why that felony charge should have never been filed against daniel.

She said, “The statute under which he has been charged was never intended to apply to these types of situations. Historically, cases under this statute, have involved high school-aged students who made clear and unambiguous threats to shoot up their school. Nothing like that happened in this case.


Daniel was charged with a written threat to conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism about four weeks after the arrest – and one day after our exclusive interview with Daniel.

Kim reacts to that timing. “Well, my take on it is that Sheriff Marceno is really, effectively backed in a corner. He has a very aggressive law and order agenda. And I think this is all part of his political agenda.”

We reached out to Sheriff Marceno for comment. 
LCOS sent us this statement saying in part: “As the sheriff of Lee county, school safety is my top priority,” He adds, “any threats made, real or fake will be immediately investigated and taken seriously.”

The family maintains that Daniel didn’t make any threat, real or fake, and they will be back in court on August 3.

You can see more coverage on this case here:

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