If you are involved in a criminal investigation you should never post details related to the matter on social media.
The power of evidence online was recently illustrated when a man from Ohio, who confessed on YouTube to causing a fatal wrong-way crash after a night of drinking, was sentenced to 6½ years in prison.
Matthew Cordle, 22, had wanted to make a statement to the family of his victim Vincent Canzani.
Cordle had faced up to 8½ years in prison, Huffington Post reported. “Whatever my sentence may be, there’s no fair sentence when it comes to the loss of a life,” Cordle told a judge before the sentence was handed down.
He was sentenced to six years for aggravated vehicular homicide and received six months for driving under the influence of alcohol. The judge also revoked his driving privileges for life.
Cordle made his confession in an 3½-minute video posted in early September. In the YouTube video, he admitted he killed a man and said he “made a mistake” when he decided to drive on the night of the accident. “My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani,” he said in his video. “This video will act as my confession,” he said.
The video confession was highly unusual. In most cases when offenders incriminate themselves on social media it’s accidental.
The site Mashable detailed how a woman in Martinsburg, in West Virginia returned home to discover two of her diamond rings were missing. She also noticed that someone had logged into Facebook on her computer — and had forgotten to log out. The Facebook activity led to the arrest of a 19-year-old burglar.
The site also reveals how James Tindell, a convicted thief from Oregon, skipped out on the court-ordered drug treatment he accepted to avoid prison. He left the state but decided to taunt cops online.
Tindell updated his Facebook profile on numerous occasions as he drove across the country. He directed many of his posts toward his probation officer. “Fresh out of another state,” he wrote in one. “Catch me if you can.” In another, he left little to the imagination, writing: “I’m in Alabama.”
Tindell was later pulled over for speeding in Daphne, Ala. A police officer ran his license and immediately found the warrant that had been issued for his arrest.
If you are a suspect in a crime, you should stay off social media and certainly never post details pertaining to the incident in question.