Facebook murders, suicides: A social media phenomenon
While social media is responsible for many advances in our society from how we seek employment to how we stay in touch with friends, there’s a new grisly phenomenon of posting criminal activity on Facebook. Everything from a murderer posting the picture of his wife’s dead body or a father writing chilling messages before shooting his 19-month-old then himself, numerous crimes are being documented online.
This year’s most notable example is that of murder Derek Medina, 31, the south Florida man suspected of murdering his wife, Jennifer Alfonso, and posting a picture of her corpse on Facebook. Along with the picture, Medina’s status read: “Im [sic] going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife. [L]ove you guys miss you guys take care Facebook people you will see me in the news.”
The gruesome image was shared thousands of times before Facebook was made aware of the picture and removed it from the site hours later. Medina has since been charged with first-degree murder.
Last month, Westminster, Colo., resident Merrick McKoy posted a picture with his daughter, Mia Phantahovngsa-McKoy, and wrote his intentions just moments before killing her and shooting himself. His status read: “I told u I can’t live without u lol u thought I was joking now me n Mia out this b—-.” Mckoy later died from his self-inflicted wound.
On Nov. 30, Michelle Rowling a 25-year-old mother of two was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend just five days after posting this eerily foreshadowing Facebook post: “SOOOOOOOO IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO ME TONIGHT JUST LET MY KIDS KNOW I LOVED THEM DEARLY AND TELL MY MOMMA I LOVE HER”
Rowling’s ex, Montrell Cooper, turned himself in to East Saint Louis police and is being held on $200,000 bond.
One psychologist believes social media offers an outlet for criminals to boast about their crimes. “Social media exposes the crimes, along with the poster’s need to feel important or powerful,” Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology tells the media. “However, in most cases, it appears that the need for bravado is much greater than any concerns about getting caught.”
It is hard to understand what leads people to document such grisly crimes. And, while these incidents can aid in the capture and prosecution of these criminals, it’s also nightmarish to think that families and friends now have to deal with the documentation of their loved ones being victimized. –tyesha t. h. litz