A judge has ruled that Daniel Marquez, 10 years old at the time of his arrest by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, did indeed make a school threat via text.
He testified in his trial Friday before Judge Carolyn Swift made her ruling.
“Based on the totality of the circumstances, their credibility of the witnesses, including the credibility of Mr. Marquez, who took the stand today, which the court finds quite frankly, he was not transparent with the court, not to be understanding that his age but he was overly coached. And I don’t find his testimony very credible, which is my purview to determine,” Judge Carolyn Swift said.
Judge Carolyn Swift came to that decision shortly after prosecutor Scott Miller challenged Marquez’s explanation that he was joking about a scam to his friend.
Marquez, who was 10 at the time, sent private texts to a friend. Texts he said were jokes about a scam involving money and guns, followed by a reference to a school event.
Marquez was arrested and charged with a second-degree felony.
After close to three hours of testimony, Judge Carolyn Swift decided Marquez did do what the statute said.
She ruled he committed a written or electronic threat to kill, do bodily injury or conduct a mass shooting or act of terrorism.
The prosecution introduced some new evidence.
They said images of Uvalde, Parkland and the video of the song “Pumped Up Kicks,” were found in the cache on Marquez’s phone.
“Were you at all aware that the Uvalde school shooting happened?” the prosecutor asked Marquez.
“No,” Marquez said in court.
However, the Digital Forensics expert couldn’t explain when they were viewed, how they were found or who looked at them.
Cesar Saporittis, the father of Marquez’s friend, took the stand. In his texts to Marquez and his call to the police in May 2022, he referred to the texts as “Inappropriate.” In his court testimony, he described them differently.
“Why did you make the decision to call law enforcement?” the prosecutor asked Saporittis.
“Because if there’s anybody who can know if it’s a real threat, it’s the sheriff’s department or, you know, any law authority will know,” Saporittis said.
At the end, Swift said she didn’t think Marquez was credible on the stand. She didn’t believe him but didn’t elaborate.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates from WINK News Investigative Reporter Celine McArthur.