Facebook selfie leads to woman being convicted of manslaughter
While the idea of documenting every moment of our lives on social media is often seen as a toxic thing to do, there are instances in which it can be beneficial. For instance, who would have thought that a selfie could be the key evidence in a homicide case?
In 2015, an 18-year-old girl from Canada was found fatally injured on the side of a road. Discovered unresponsive near a landfill in the city of Saskatoon, in the province of Saskatchewan, it was eventually concluded that she had been strangled to death. Speaking to her friend, 21-year-old Cheyenne Rose Antoine, they were told that after an evening of drinking she had gone home with an unknown man, but it turned out that this was a lie.
The police poked holes in Antoine's story when she told them that she and the victim, Brittney Gargol, went to the Colonial Pub and Grill. After looking over the security footage, they saw that they had never been there. Antoine also tried to throw the cops off by posting on Facebook shortly after the death, asking where she was.
But the key point in the investigation that lead them to suspect Cheyenne came down to a selfie she posted on the site.
They recognized that the belt she was wearing in the selfie, posted only a few hours before Gargol was found, was also at the scene of the crime. This eventually was used as key evidence in the trial, by which point a friend of Antoine's tipped them off that she had confessed to having a fight with the deceased on the night of the death.
Crown prosecutor Robin Ritter said that it was "quite remarkable how the police developed this information", adding that Brittney was "far too young when she was killed".
After a two-year investigation, the police charged Antoine with second-degree murder, but she pleaded guilty to manslaughter instead, earning herself seven years in prison, CBC reports. She admitted that the pair had been out drinking and had gotten into an argument, but her memory was fuzzy past this point.
"No doubt this young woman has issues ... and because of those issues she is dangerous," said Ritter.
"I will never forgive myself," Antoine said in a statement made through her lawyer. "Nothing I say or do will ever bring her back. I am very, very sorry. It shouldn't have ever happened".
Lisa Watson, Antoine's lawyer, added: "She knows the family would like an explanation, a reason, but unfortunately she can't provide that".
Gargol's aunt, Jennifer Gargol, spoke about Brittney in court, saying:
"Most days we can't stop thinking about Brittney, what happened that night, what she must have felt fighting for her life. You feel darkened in your own dark world... You robbed this world of someone who had a special gift."
Gargol's stepmother also remarked that her daughter, Brittney's younger sister, has been shaken up by what has happened. The little girl, who was five at the time of the killing, feels guilty if a day goes by that she doesn't think of Brittney. No doubt this senseless crime will have repercussions for years to come, and our thoughts are with the family of the deceased.