UK & World News
'Twitter Boast' Teen Driver On Murder Charge
A teenage motorist accused of killing a cyclist has been charged with murder partly because he apparently boasted about speeding on Twitter.
Cody Hall was travelling at more than 80mph in a 40mph zone when he hit Diana Hersevoort, 58, and her husband on a busy road in Alameda County, California, prosecutors alleged.
Hall was originally charged with vehicular manslaughter but that has now been upgraded to murder because of his apparent speeding boast.
The victim's husband broke an arm, but she died in the tragedy in Dublin, California, on June 9.
The 18-year-old motorist, of Pleasanton, was being held without bail, the San Francisco Chronicle and Oakland Tribune reported.
An analysis of Hall's driving record, along with Twitter posts in which he discussed how fast he liked to drive, persuaded prosecutors to change the charge to murder, the district attorney's office told the Chronicle.
Brian Welch is a supervisor of the homicide unit at the Santa Clara County district attorney's office who is not involved in this case.
He told the Tribune that in most circumstances, fatal crashes result in murder charges when the suspect was recklessly fleeing police or was a drunken driver with previous convictions, not because of something like a Twitter feed.
Welch said in this case it is likely the tweets will serve as what is called a "pre-offence statement," often an email, handwritten note or text message, used to bolster prosecutors' attempt to prove malice.
"The challenge in these situations is proving that your defendant is the person who posted the statement," he said.