• Culture

Killers Who Tweeted Before, During, And After Their Crimes

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.

 

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  • The Gulf Zone Drug Cartel Posted A Murder Victim's Photo On Her Twitter Account

    In 2014, a woman who called herself Felina became an online crusader fighting the drug cartels in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The cartels had declared a media blackout, so none of the major crimes in the area were being reported. As a result, people turned to social media to share information.

    Felina ran Valor por Tamaulipas, the most popular of these citizen news organizations. She posted emergency phone numbers and encouraged people to speak out about crimes, catching the attention of the cartels. Felina began receiving threatening messages as the cartels worked to discover her true identity. 

    On October 16, a message was posted from Felina's Twitter account: "Friends and family, my real name is Maria Del Rosario Fuentes Rubio. I am a doctor. Today my life has come to an end." A few other tweets were published warning her friends not to make the same mistakes that she had made, and then a photo of Felina's body was posted. She had been shot by the cartel, which had been tweeting messages from her phone to scare her followers. 

  • Boston Marathon Bomber Tweeted Message Of Support After His Crime

    On the morning of April 15, 2013 two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring at least 260. Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were later identified as suspects and captured during a shootout with police. Tamerlan was killed, but Dzhokhar was arrested.

    Before he was captured, Dzhokhar tweeted out a message of support to the city of Boston. He wrote, "Ain't no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people."

    He was convicted and sentenced to death.

  • Disgruntled News Anchor Killed His Colleagues And Posted The Video On Twitter

    In the weeks and days leading up to Vester Lee Flanagan II's rampage, he made several posts to Twitter and Facebook in which he complained about his co-workers, among other things. In March 2019, he recorded himself as he approached his co-workers, reporter Alison Parker and camera operator Adam Ward, as they were doing an interview with a local official, Vicki Gardner. He shot all three, killing Parker and Ward. He then posted the shocking video to his Twitter account.

    Flanagan killed himself when he was confronted by the police, but his apparent motive for the crime was retaliation. He claimed Parker had made racist comments about him and Ward had reported him to human resources, but there was no proof of his allegations. He had been fired from his job before the crime.

  • William Riley Gaul Tweeted A Loving Tribute After Shooting His Ex-Girlfriend

    In November 2016, 16-year-old Emma Walker was killed by a gunshot wound as she slept. The shot came from outside her bedroom window. After her death, her ex-boyfriend, William Riley Gaul, posted a loving tribute to her on Twitter. 

    "To think that every memory we have, every happy special moment we shared, can't ever be relived. I love you Emma Jane Walker," he wrote. His Twitter bio was also dedicated to Emma, saying "I love you beautiful and I know you're in a better place now."

    According to her family, Emma had broken up with Gaul, but he refused to accept it. He was placed under surveillance and arrested shortly after. He was formally charged with first-degree murder, aggravated stalking, and theft of a firearm. In 2018, he was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility for parole after 51 years served.