Selfie saves innocent 21-year-old man from a possible 99-year prison sentence
On September 22, 2017, 21-year-old Christopher Precopia went to work at the lumberyard in Georgetown, Texas. To his surprise, the police showed up and arrested him for a horrific crime. His ex-girlfriend claimed that he broke into her home, pushed her down, punched her in the face and carved an "X" into her chest with a box cutter. Officer charged Precopia with burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit other crimes, a felony offense that carries the possibility of 99 years in prison.
Precopia was innocent of this crime. He and his accuser dated in high school, then drifted apart. They hadn't contacted each other in a long time, but it was his word against hers. She provided detailed oral and written statements describing how he forcefully entered her home and committed physical assault. “I had no idea who accused me of this, I had no idea why everything was happening," Precopia told KVUE. "I was constantly fearful as to what could happen the next day . . . I was going to sleep hoping I wouldn’t wake up, just to get away from it.”
After spending a day in jail, Precopia was freed by his parents, who took out loans to post his $150,000 bond. They believed in their son's innocence, and hired a lawyer to fight the charges. However, his mother discovered the crucial piece of evidence that proved his innocence. (Sad that sometimes you have to prove your innocence in the American court system isn't it?)
On the exact day and time of the alleged attack, Precopia took a selfie with his family at the Renaissance Austin Hostel in Austin, Texas. At 7:02 p.m., Precopia snapped the picture at the hotel, as proven by the cell phone records. Meanwhile, his accuser claimed that at 7:20p.m., he broke into her house, located in Temple, Texas, which is nearly 70 miles away. There is no way he could have possibility committed the vicious attack.
"He was very fortunate that she chose a date and time that he just happened to have a rock-solid alibi for," his defense attorney, Rick Flores, told The Washington Post. "He and I have talked many times about how lucky he is, whether you believe in a higher power or good old-fashioned luck."
The ex-girlfriend admitted to police that she fabricated the attack, citing their troubled past relationship. Precopia was fully exonerated, but while his name is clear legally, it's still sullied on the internet. The false accusation could haunt him for years, even decades. In fact, it's already started: In October, he tried to enlist with the U.S. Army, and was rejected because the felony offense charge. Flores the family is exploring suing the accuser, and someone else at the Army is reviewing Precopia's application.
We make fun of people that are obsessed with taking selfies, but in this case, a selfie saved someone's life.