US Army Sergeant Franklin “Dale” Delano Jeffries faces up to five years in prison in Tennessee because of a threatening YouTube rant that he uploaded last summer. In the video, Dale Jeffries allegedly threatened the life of Knox County Chancellor Michael Moyers, who was hearing arguments in a child visitations case between Jeffries and his ex-wife.
According to NBC’s WBIR 10 News in Knoxville, Jeffries said in the video that he would kill a man and encouraged parents going through the family court system to put bombs in judges’ cars. Jeffries’ defense team, however, maintains that the video wasn’t meant as a threat towards Moyers (whose name is not even mentioned in the video). They maintain that the video was simply a soldier venting about the various frustrations he was experiencing while going through the family court system. Defense attorney Ralph Harwell said, “These are issues that should not be prosecutable in our courts, when somebody is venting, even if they wind up getting on the internet.”
Despite the fact that Jeffries and his defense say that the video was nothing more than a YouTube rant, a federal jury in East Tennessee found him guilty of threats yesterday. He is scheduled to appear in court on May 9 for sentencing.
This is yet another instance of a YouTube video, uploaded without a second thought, has come back to haunt someone. Although the five years of jail time that Jeffries faces is a much more serious consequence than the backlash that UCLA student Alexandra Wallace faced for her racist Asians In The Library rant or that YouTube troll Tamtampamela faced for mocking Christians and tsunami victims last month (not that I’m minimizing the ordeal that I’m sure these girls went through, being ostracized from their communities and receiving death threats).
But, rant or not, Dale Jeffries video was a whole lot more focused on a single individual. In the video Jeffries said, “I promise you judge, I will kill a man. I have nothing against you but this better be my last court date.” Jeffries sent the video to more than two-dozen Facebook friends (including his 9-year old niece) and told them, “Give this to the judge.”
While the threatening video was taken down from Jeffries’ YouTube channel a couple days after it was uploaded, his channel is still up and running and you can see him in action in a number of other videos, including a video of pictures of soldiers in Saddam Hussain’s “Big Chair” with commentary, videos of him singing original songs such as ‘Speak English’, and a song he wrote for his daughters (who he is in a battle for visitation rights over).
Jeffries’ sister says that her brother has always wanted to be like Johnny Knoxville and has uploaded videos that are a bit out there just for fun. This, she says, was one of those instances and it has totally backfired.
You can find out more about Dale Jeffries at TryingToGetFamous.com. On the site it is written that, “In many years gone by; there is only but one chance to get famous in these 120 years or less that we have to live, so make the best of them.” It looks like Dale just might have achieved his fifteen minutes of fame, but is the jail time really worth it?
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.