Blogger who called for murder of D.A., FOP chief surrenders to police

Posted: September 21, 2012

JOSHUA SCOTT ALBERT's life on the lam was, in his own words, "no fun."

But now it's over.

Albert, 26, an unemployed blogger wanted on a warrant for advocating the murders of two Philly law-enforcement officials, surrendered Thursday at the police station at 21st and Hamilton streets. His attorney, Lloyd Long III, accompanied him.

UPDATE: Bail was set early Friday at $300,000 on charges that include three counts each of criminal solicitation murder and terroristic threats. Albert must post $30,000 to get out of jail.

Authorities put an arrest warrant out on him about two weeks ago for criminal solicitation to commit murder, terroristic threats and harassment after he created Facebook pages supporting two alleged cop-killers and calling for the murders of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby.

The pages have since been removed. But Tuesday, someone created a new Facebook page: "Tell Seth Williams to Drop the Charges Against JSA." It had 37 "likes" by midafternoon Thursday.

Reached by email early Thursday, Albert declined to answer questions and referred comment to Long.

"The charges, in my opinion, violate the First Amendment," Long said. "This is free speech. It is parody and satire, all of which is protected under the First Amendment, which also protects offensive speech and vulgar speech. There were no serious threats that were ever communicated, no serious requests for any harm. In the context of all the comments that Mr. Albert made, none show an intent for any harm to anyone."

Long couldn't explain Albert's delay in surrendering to police, saying he first met Albert on Wednesday and arranged for his surrender the next day.

Although he wouldn't comment to the Daily News, Albert did call in Wednesday to the Panic Hour, an amateur "comedic activism" Internet podcast that opens with the question, "Interested in legalizing marijuana and destroying the government? Tune in to The Panic Hour."

Albert wouldn't talk about his case on that show either, but told the podcast's hosts that life as a fugitive was "very complicated, and I'd be lying if I said I was doing good. Being on the lam is no fun. I wish I could say it was easy, but it's not. I pissed off some people, and they are really, really coming for me."

In a rambling post on his blog, staphmeal.com, last week, Albert apologized to the family of slain Officer Moses Walker for his Facebook tribute to Walker's alleged killers.

But he called the charges against him a violation of First Amendment free-speech protections.

"The city in which our country was founded is now stomping on our constitution and every principle which people, including the very members of the Philadelphia Police Department, have died to protect," he wrote.

Albert's surrender came one day after a federal judge in Philadelphia sentenced a Bethlehem man to 44 months in prison for threats he made on Facebook against the Pennsylvania State Police, the FBI and the Berks County Sheriff's Department, as well as his wife and an unidentified kindergarten class.

Anthony Elonis, 28, was convicted of four counts of interstate communication of threats for posting such rants as, "That's it, I've had about enough. I'm checking out and making a name for myself. Enough elementary schools in a ten mile radius to initiate the most heinous school shooting ever imagined. And hell hath no fury like a crazy man in a kindergarten class. The only question is . . . which one?"

U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Stengel also ordered Elonis to get mental-health treatment, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.


Contact Dana DiFilippo at difilid@phillynews.com or 215-854-5934. Follow her on Twitter @DanaDiFilippo. Read her blog at phillyconfidential.com.

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