PITTSBURGH — A 16-year-old teen is accused of shooting a friend in the face, taking a selfie with the body and sending the photo out on the social media app Snapchat, the Tribune-Review of Pittsburgh reports.
According to the newspaper, Maxwell Marion Morton is being held in juvenile detention on the charges of first-degree murder of Ryan Managan. Morton is charged as an adult.
Managan’s mother found him dead at their Pittsburgh area home Wednesday, the Tribune-Review reports. He suffered a single-gunshot wound to the face.
A friend of Morton’s came forward to police, saying the suspect sent him a photo of he and the apparently dead victim. The friend told police he saved the picture, and he showed it to police. The picture allegedly showed the victim sitting in the chair with a wound on his face. Morton allegedly posed behind the victim. Morton also allegedly sent text messages that read, “Told you I cleaned up the shells,” and “Ryan was not the last one.”
Police searched Morton’s house, the Tribune-Review reported, and allegedly found a 9 mm handgun hidden under basement steps. Bullets from the handgun allegedly matched shell casings found at the murder scene.
During a police interview, Morton allegedly confessed to the killing. No motive for the shooting was released.
Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck told the Tribune-Review in his 30 years as prosecutor, he’s never seen a suspect take a selfie with the dead victim.
“I’ve never seen it before,” Peck told the Tribune-Review. “But it was a key piece of evidence that led investigators to the defendant.”
Pamela Rutledge, the director of Media Psychology Research Center and a psychology and social media instructor at the Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbra told the Tribune-Review, criminals likely post their crimes to social media sites as a part of self-importance.
“Perpetrators in need of validating their power and sense of self-importance have used all kinds of communications to ‘brag’ about criminal activities — from the local hangout to social media, like Facebook,” Rutlege said.