I see a mix of "this is crazy" and "the kid's a dumbass" on the different sites where I've read about this.
Just to be clear, eight years in prison is a long fucking time. Shit, a life can be destroyed in the three months he's already been in prison. Thinking that sending this kid to jail for any length of time because he made a joke is INSANE.
Let me tell a little story:
When I was twelve, a cousin of mine stole a .22 caliber rifle from one of his friends. He chopped the ends off to make it concealable and brought it to a party. When his best friend tried to get him to go home and get rid of it, my cousin, trying to look manly... shot him in the heart by accident, killing him almost instantly.
He was sentenced to four years in prison.