Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Crime

Pasco teen said he was joking when he solicited a hitman to kill a Fivay High staffer

Deputies still arrested Nicholas R. Godfrey on serious charges. “It doesn’t matter what the intent was,” the sheriff said.
Nicholas Godfrey, 18, was arrested Friday after Pasco Sheriff's deputies say he posted Instagram messages soliciting for someone to kill a school staff member. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
Published Nov. 1
Updated Nov. 2

An 18-year-old Pasco County high school student faces charges of first degree solicitation to attempt murder after offering $100,000 for a hit on a Fivay High staff member.

Pasco sheriff’s deputies arrested Nicholas R. Godfrey late Thursday after tracing an Instagram account with the request for “a guy who could kill someone” to a computer IP address at Godfrey’s home, according to the arrest report.

Authorities said Godfrey offered $100,000 to another student for the unnamed staff member’s head.

“No joke, I need him eliminated as soon as possible,” Godfrey wrote, according to the affidavit.

At a Friday afternoon news conference, Sheriff Chris Nocco said the teen had no known past problems with the staff member, who was provided protection as a precaution. Also, Godfrey did not appear to have the means or the intent to carry out the threat, which he suggested to detectives was just joking around, Nocco said.

“It doesn’t matter what the intent was,” the sheriff said. “When you do it and post it on social media, the crime is committed.”

Godfrey was taken to the county jail.

Nocco and schools superintendent Kurt Browning stressed that they take every such incident seriously, and that they cannot make it more plain that children must understand the consequences that come with threatening violence against schools, students and staff members.

“I’m tired of meeting with the press and the public announcing the foolishness of the behavior that goes on with some of our kids,” Browning said, calling some of the social media activity “destructive.”

He praised law enforcement for its quick action, and said the arrest was justified and welcomed. But he also lamented “what this young man has done to the rest of his life.”

Browning urged parents to pay more attention to what their children are doing on social media, and to help maintain civility in the schools and the larger society.

Nocco noted that Godfrey’s parents were “shocked” by their son’s messages, which detectives said the teen admitted to sending, and had no idea any such conversations were taking place. According to the sheriff’s office affidavit, Godfrey also “freely provided a written statement” documenting his solicitation, along with the electronic equipment he used to send the messages.

School district officials said he will be recommended for expulsion.

The arrest comes at the tail end of what Browning called a “rough week” for Fivay High. The school has experienced fights and defiant behavior among a “riff raff of approximately 13 people that were doing the wrong thing,” Nocco said.

As a result, the sheriff’s office sent out a display of force, including about a dozen officers and canine units, to demonstrate it will have zero tolerance for that type of behavior, Nocco said. Going forward, the office will assign a second resource officer to the campus to help maintain order.

The school district, meanwhile, has adopted a stricter stance on fighting at Fivay, with plans to expel anyone caught in the act, Browning said.

He said he has scheduled a meeting with school leaders for next week, to discuss ways to further improve the campus culture. Principal Jason Joens already has bolstered the rules and their enforcement, and the situation is slowly improving, Browning said.

Joens and other school officials also expect to meet with parents, some of whom have complained directly to the School Board, during an upcoming school advisory council meeting.

Afterward, Browning said, a larger community conversation might be in order.

“I want folks to tell me what is going on,” he said. “We want to problem solve around what is going on at Fivay High School.”

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. AP file photo of then Gov. and now U.S. Sen. Rick Scott
    DeSantis, Rick Scott and other Republicans have taken a strong stance on Saudi Arabia in recent days. President Donald Trump?
  2. An undated photo of an inmate pod at the Falkenburg Road Jail in Hillsborough County. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office] Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
    Marcus Anderson, 33, collapsed Dec. 1 at the Falkenburg Road Jail. He died six days later.
  3. Paul Skalnik in a 1987 Pinellas County Sheriff's Office booking mug. He played a pivotal rule in the death row sentences of multiple inmates.
    From the archives: The Tampa Bay Times has covered Paul Skalnik, the subject of ProPublica and New York Times story, since 1987.
  4. St. Petersburg police said they arrested Jesse Millis-Dwyer after Homeland Security detected him uploading a sexually explicit photo of a 12-year-old girl to a Russian photo-sharing site. St. Pete
    Police said he uploaded photo to Russian picture-sharing site
  5. A Brinks security guard was shot during a robbery attempt at a GTE Financial credit union in Brandon Friday morning. TONY MARRERO  |  Times
    Deputies thought they had the suspect pinned down at the Bridgeport Apartments, but he fled.
  6. Police are seen outside a home at 5342 22nd Ave. N Friday in St. Petersburg. Stanley Jones, inset, is accused of stabbing two women at 22nd Avenue North and 53rd Street. One woman died from her injuries and the other was hospitalized. [URSO, CHRIS | Tampa Bay Times] CHRIS URSO | Times; St. Petersburg Police Department
    Police arrested Stanley Jones just after the stabbing Friday on 22nd Avenue N.
  7. In this Dec. 5 photo authorities investigate the scene of a shooting in Miramar, Fla. The FBI says several people, including a UPS driver, were killed after robbers stole the driver’s truck and led police on a chase that ended in gunfire at a busy South Florida intersection during rush hour. (Taimy Alvarez/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) TAIMY ALVAREZ  |  AP
    A lawyer for the union where Rick Cutshaw worked said Cutshaw had just left his office before being killed. “He was going home.”
  8. Mandi Parsneau, 34, and her daughter Chloe Ann, 9, wait to return to their home at the Naval Air Station, Friday in Pensacola. The naval base is on lockdown after an aviation student from Saudi Arabia opened fire in a classroom building at the Naval Air Station. The attack left three dead in addition to the assailant and several injured. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington) BRENDAN FARRINGTON  |  AP
    The assault was the second at a U.S. Navy base this week and prompted a massive law enforcement response and a lockdown at the base.
  9. These undated photo made available by the Florida Department of Corrections, show Ronnie Hill, left, and Lamar Alexander, two robbery suspects who were killed in a shootout with police, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2019, after they stole a UPS driver’s truck and led police on a chase that ended in gunfire at a busy South Florida intersection. UPS driver Frank Ordonez and another motorist who was waiting at a busy intersection were also killed. 
( Florida Department of Corrections via AP) AP
    Both men had long criminal histories and had recently been released from prison.
  10. Frank Ordonez was the UPS driver who was taken hostage by two armed robbers and later killed during a shootout with police in Miramar Thursday. Facebook
    Frank Ordonez, was a father to two young girls and had worked with UPS for five years.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement