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Snapchat Selfie Leads to a Murder Charge

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Snapchat is every teen's beloved medium for selfies, group pictures and quick snapshots into one’s life, but what happens when it's used to document something illegal?

Maxwell Marion Morton, a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania, sent a Snapchat on February 8th of himself with the body of a classmate, 16-year-old Ryan Mangan, who had been shot in the face. The “snap” was a selfie of a black male, with the victim situated behind him. Text on the snap read “Maxwell,” the accused’s first name.

A recipient of the snap took a screenshot of the image and showed his mother the photo, leading the recipient’s mother to contact 911.

Mangan's mother found Mangan dead on Wednesday.

After searching Morton's bedroom, police found a handgun and casing. They are using the photo to charge Morton with murder, in addition to the weapon that Morton had access to. They are also citing text messages like, “Ryan was not the last one,” and “Told you I cleaned up the shells,” that were found on Morton’s phone. After his home was searched, Morton confessed to killing Mangan.

This is a landmark case in that it is one of the first times that a selfie is being used as a piece of prime evidence.

Morton is being charged as an adult with first degree murder, homicide and possession of a firearm by a minor and is being held in the Westmoreland County juvenile detention centre until his preliminary hearing on February 19th.


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