How a Facebook Selfie Led to a Manslaughter Conviction
The selfie showed a woman wearing a belt found near the body of a murder victim.
Image via Facebook
A selfie posted on Facebook was used as key evidence in a murder investigation that has led to a 21-year-old woman in Saskatchewan being sentenced to seven years in prison.
Cheyenne Rose Antoine, who was sentenced in the case on Monday, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the killing of her best friend, 18-year-old Brittney Gargol, CBC News reports. Gargol died in 2015. She was found on a road near a landfill in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
A belt that became a key piece of evidence was also found near Gargol’s body. That belt reportedly was seen in a selfie posted on Facebook of Antoine wearing it hours before her best friend was found dead. Gargol was strangled to death.
Antoine admitted to killing her friend but said she did not remember it. The two had been out drinking the night of Gargol’s murder.
Antoine had previously told cops that Gargol went home with a man she met when they were barhopping the night she died. But later, someone tipped off police about how Antoine had confessed to a friend that she had killed Gargol.
Crown prosecutor Robin Ritter spoke of the role of the connection between the belt found by the victim’s body and the selfie in court, saying it was “quite remarkable how the police developed this information.”
Evidence from social media is increasingly being used in major crime investigations. In Canada, 24-year-old Ager Hasan is currently in court for the murder of his former girlfriend after allegedly confessing on Reddit. Hasan also appears to have posted on Instagram while on the run.
Ritter said Antoine attempted to use Facebook to throw off police after she killed her friend. She had reportedly posted on Facebook asking where Gargol was just hours after her death.
The murder investigation took almost two years. Antoine was initially charged with second-degree murder.
Gargol’s aunt, Jennifer Gargol, provided a victim impact statement in court.
"Most days we can't stop thinking about Brittney, what happened that night, what she must have felt fighting for her life," she said. “You feel darkened in your own dark world… You robbed this world of someone who had a special gift."