In the modern age of social media, many killers are caught because of the things they post online. Murderers sometimes post warning signs about their future crimes on Twitter, like the man who tweeted about wanting to kill his roommate just a day before actually doing it. Other killers use Twitter to keep up appearances after their crimes, posting messages about how much they loved the person they murdered. A few of them use Twitter as a way to broadcast their crimes to the widest audience possible.
In July 2012, 16-year-old Skylar Neese disappeared from her West Virginia home. Six months later, her friend Rachel Shoaf confessed that she and another friend, Sheila Eddy, had stabbed Neese to death and then left her body in the woods.
While Neese was missing, Sheila Eddy remained active on Twitter, posting birthday messages to friends and tweeting about her everyday life. After Skylar's body was discovered, Sheila posted a photo collage of herself and Skylar with the caption "rest easy, Skylar. You'll ALWAYS be my best friend. i miss you more than you could ever know."
Rachel Shoaf told police she and Sheila had planned the murder in science class. They lured Skylar out into the woods and then planned to stab her on the count of three. About one month before she was arrested, Shelia tweeted, "We really did go on three."
Rachel was sentenced to 30 years in prison; Sheila received a life sentence.
In 2016, Trenton Forster allegedly shot and killed a St. Louis County Police officer named Blake Snyder. It started after a woman called the police when Forster repeatedly knocked on her door looking for her daughter. When Snyder arrived on the scene, Forster opened fire on him.
In the weeks leading up to the murder, Snyder's Twitter account was filled with troublesome messages. "I'ma kill em all, just watch," he wrote. In reference to a gun, he said, "The compact .40 cal send all my enemies to hell."
Despite having a history of violent behavior, Forster pled not guilty to the murder of Blake Snyder. However, the jury found him guilty of first-degree murder and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In 2016, Zachary Penton tweeted threatening remarks, including that he needed to move out of his apartment befor he "viciously murder[ed]" his roomate. On August 22, he called 911 and confessed to killing his roommate, Daniel Garofalo. They had only been living together for about two months at the time of the murder. Claiming self-defense, Penton said he shot Garofalo after being threatened to move out of the house.
It may have been self-defense, but a look through Penton's Twitter history shows an obvious obsession with guns. In June 2016, he wrote that buying a gun was easy. Just a few days before the shooting, he tweeted, "I need two boxes of 9mm stat." Penton received a sentence of 12 years for the murder.
Jacqueline Vandagriff's burned and dismembered body was found in a Texas park on September 14, 2016. One day later, her killer tweeted from her account. "Never knew I could feel like this," said the mysterious message.
On September 13, Vandagriff met Charles Dean Bryant at a bar and the pair were seen leaving together. Employees were able to give police Bryant's name and from there, the evidence against him quickly piled up. Cell phone records showed her phone was near Bryant's home around 1:00 a.m. and her purse was found in a nearby trash can. Bryant was caught on video buying a shovel, and there was evidence that he had tried to dig a hole in his yard before apparently giving up and bringing her body to the park.
He was arrested a few days after posting the strange tweet on Vandagriff's account.