Law enforcement officials have learned that the Internet has a long memory and statements made on the Internet can be used to incriminate a suspect. Recently, police and prosecutors used the Facebook statements of a 19-year-old Pennsylvania man as evidence of criminal solicitation of murder.
The 19-year-old West Chester man was arrested last summer after a woman accused him of rape. Allegedly, he was giving her a ride home after a party when she passed out. She allegedly woke up to the man forcing himself upon her. The woman confronted him about the incident. Shortly thereafter, he made the self-incriminating Facebook posts. "I got 500 on a girls head who wants that bread? Hit me up anyway possible," he allegedly wrote.
Police believed this Facebook post was an effort to contact a hitman. Detective Stan Billie, contacted the 19-year-old man, posing as a hitman offering his services. Police say the detective set up a meeting with the man to discuss the offer, but that the man never followed through with it.
Armed with the Facebook evidence, the authorities were able to convince the 19-year-old to admit that his posts were directed at the woman he allegedly had raped. Last week, he accepted a plea bargain. He now faces 11 to 22 years in prison on charges of criminal solicitation of murder, rape, unlawful restraint and possession of an instrument of crime.
Many people think that they can act anonymously over the Internet. However, this story illustrates that statements made over the Internet, especially on Facebook, can easily be accessed by law enforcement authorities and these statements can be used as incriminating evidence.
Source: Switched.com, "Teen Rapist Admits to Looking for Hitman on Facebook," Amar Toor, 2/14/2011