Crime And Punishment: Getting Arrested On Facebook…
Facebook wall posts, photos, messages, events pages and more can be helpful tools for authorities tracking a suspect, serving as key evidence in criminal cases. Recently, it’s become more and more common for police to turn to the social network during investigations.
In December 2010, a former New York EMT, Mark Musarella, pleaded guilty to charges of misconduct and disorderly conduct, according to the AP. “Prosecutors say Musarella responded to a March 30, 2009, emergency call in Staten Island, where he snapped a picture of a woman who had been strangled. He then posted the image on [Facebook], the AP also writes.
In July 2011, Joseph Bernard Campbell said he would plead guilty to charges of cyberstalking and unauthorized access to a computer. “At least 19 women were victimized by a computer hacker who broke into their email accounts, captured risqué photographs of the women and then swapped them for the women’s Facebook profile pictures, authorities say,” reports Tampa Bay Online.
In Carson City, Nevada a group of six girls (ages 12 to 13) were arrested in January 2011 for allegedly posting threatening comments on the wall of a Facebook event titled “Attack A Teacher Day.” According to the Nevada Appeal, posts apparently written by the girls containted the word “attack.” ”All of the girls said it was just a joke,” Carson City Sheriff’s Deputy Jessica Rivera told the Appeal.
In April 2011, two preteen girls from a Seattle suburb were charged with cyberstalking and first-degree computer trespassing. Reuters reports that the girls “allegedly post[ed] sexually explicit photos and comments on the Facebook page of a 12-year-old classmate” and were “accused of using the third girl’s computer address to send out instant message solicitations for sex using her name.”
London Eley of Philadelphia allegedly used Facebook to find and hire someone to kill Corey White, the father of her child. “I will pay somebody a stack to kill my baby father,” Eley wrote, according 6ABC.com. A man named Timothy Bynum allegedly accepted Eley’s offer, writing, “say no more,” “what he look like?” and “need dat stack 1st,” reports 6ABC.com. White alerted the authorities to the alleged correspondence between Eley and Bynum, both of whom were taken into custody in June 2011. White was shot in August while Eley and Bynum remained in jail.
An Illinois teenager was arrested in May 2011 for allegedly distributing (via Facebook) a provocative list that ranked the physical appearance of 50 girls from his high school. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the list in question “described the girls by explicit, derogatory nicknames and assessed their physical appearance, sexual desirability, sexual activity and other characteristics”. The Associated Press lists nicknames like “Fallen Angel,” “Blond Bombshell” and “The Hangover.” ”He obviously offended people but he also has a right to free speech,” criminal defense attorney Mark Gottesman told The Huffington Post.
Former U.S. Congress candidate Cheryl Allen was arrested and charged in January 2011 for reportedly threatening several civil servants. According to the Associated Press, ”The alleged threats mentioned four Morgan County judges, and other public officials […] were mentioned by first name. Media reports said Allen had previously filed a discrimination lawsuit that was dismissed by a judge.”
In February 2011, Eric James Wilson, 21, was arrested in Palm Bay, Florida forallegedly assaulting his then-wife. According to ZDNET, police charged Wilson with “battery domestic violence and a misdemeanor.” The fight reportedly started after Wilson changed his Facebook relationship status from “married” to “single.”