Twitter boast leads to murder charge for California teen involved in fatal collision with cyclist
Charges revised after prosecutors learn of 18-year-old's tweets bragging about speeding
A teenage motorist in California originally charged with vehicular manslaughter in relation to the death of a cyclist has now been charged with second-degree murder after it emerged that he had boasted on Twitter about speeding.
According to Yahoo! News, police claim that 18-year-old Cody Hall’s Dodge Neon car was travelling at 84mph in a 40mph zone when he lost control of his car and collided with husband and wife Johannes and Diana Hersevoort of Dublin, California.
Mrs Hersevoort, aged 58, was killed and her 57-year-old husband injured in the incident, which took place in Pleasanton, a few miles inland from San Francisco Bay, at around 1pm on 9 June while the couple were taking their weekly bike ride.
Initially, Hall was charged with causing vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and reckless driving with serious injury. He was released on $100,00 bail.
On Wednesday, however, he was taken back into custody, without bail, and charged with second-degree murder after his tweets came to light.
According to the Pleasanton Patch which reported on his tweets four days after the fatal incident, in one, Hall asked his 191 followers on the social network to accompany him on a “death ride.”In another, posted in March, he bragged of driving at 140mph.
Just hours before the incident in which Mrs Hersevoort died, Hall had retweeted a message that read, “Drive fast, live young.”
Under California’s Penal Code, if found guilty, Hall faces a jail term of 15 years to life.
The San Francisco Chronicle says that in order to prove the charge against Hall, prosecutors need to show that there was “implied malice."
The newspaper defines that as requiring it to be shown that the driver was “engaged in an intentional, unlawful act done with conscious disregard for the risk to human life.”