An 18-year-old California man who struck and killed a 58-year-old bicyclist was charged with second-degree murder Wednesday after prosecutors discovered he had previously bragged on Twitter about his speedin`g exploits.
According to the Pleasanton (Calif.) Patch, Cody Hall once invited his 191 Twitter followers to join him on a “death ride,” and he retweeted the phrase “Drive fast live young” just hours before he collided with Diana Hersevoort and her 57-year-old husband, Johannes, on June 9, as they were on an afternoon bike ride. Cops said Hall’s 2004 Dodge Neon was traveling 83 mph in a 40-mph zone when he hit the couple, killing Hersevoort and injuring her husband.
Late last month, Hall was charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and reckless driving with serious injury. He was released on $100,000 bail.
But the discovery of Hall’s tweets prompted prosecutors to upgrade the vehicular manslaughter charge to second-degree murder on Wednesday. He is being held without bail.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, in order to convict Hall on the second-degree murder charge, prosecutors must show “implied malice” — or that Hall “engaged in an intentional, unlawful act done with conscious disregard for the risk to human life.”
It’s yet another example of a suspected criminal whose brazen tweets were later used against him.
Last year, a Brooklyn rapper who bragged on Twitter about getting away with murder was charged with three, in part based on his Twitter and YouTube boasts.
Just this week, a worker at a Toronto oil change service center was fired after he made an open plea on Twitter for a pot dealer to bring him weed at work. His marijuana request was spotted by police, who tweeted back to him: “Awesome! Can we come too?” The exchange quickly went viral.
Social media also played a key role in the case of two Steubenville, Ohio, high school football players, who earlier this year were found guilty of raping a teenage girl after nude photos of the girl were posted online.