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.
Sheila Eddy Tweeted A Memorial For The Friend She Murdered
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.
Trenton Forster Tweeted Threats Before Allegedly Shooting A Police Officer
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.
Zachary Penton Posted About Killing His Roommate And Then Actually Did It
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.
Charles Dean Bryant Tweeted From His Victim's Phone
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.
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.