Maxwell Morton is 16-years-old and was a student at Jeannette High School in Pennsylvania. He’s being ordered to stand trial on criminal homicide and firearms charges. Why? He fatally shot a 16-year-old friend in the face, then “took a selfie with the deceased’s body,” according with the Associated Press.
Something went horribly wrong on the afternoon of February 4. Morton was at his friend’s house. The friend, 16-year-old Ryan Mangan, and Maxwell were doing what teens do: listening to music and dancing. Maxwell Morton was playing on the Xbox with people in another state, through an internet connection. Typical stuff.
The only event that was not typical of teens playing around started when the two began horsing around with a gun found at Mangan’s house shortly before the shooting. According to the police, Maxwell Morton attempted to take a selfie of him with his friend, with the cellphone aimed down the barrel of the gun, which was apparently pointed at Mangan. Then suddenly, evidently without warning and for no known cause, Morton shot his friend in the face.
Morton’s defense attorney Patrick Thomassey indicated that there was no animus or evident motive for the shooting. He said that his client stated the following, and that he didn’t know what Morton meant, according to the Associated Press.
“I just pulled the trigger and I didn’t care.”
Westmoreland County Prosecutors contend that Maxwell’s statement means that he intentionally shot and killed his friend, and they are seeking a first-degree murder conviction. This would mean an automatic life in prison sentence for Morton without parole. Prosecutors are seeking a first-degree conviction also based on a text that Morton sent stating that he “got his first body,” according to the testimony of County Detective Robert Weaver.
Mangan’s mother found her son’s body in a chair upon returning from work that evening. Morton’s parents indicated that Morton was apathetic about being caught by police, but did not intend to shoot Mangan.
Morton’s attorney Thomassey indicated that the shooting didn’t involve malice or premeditation, which would warrant a lesser charge of manslaughter, not the greater offenses of first- or third-degree murder. Thomassey indicated the following, according to the Associated Press.
“My client was on the Xbox with people in another state when this happened. He texted them and said he can’t believe what happened.”
The eerie text of the photo just starkly stated “MAXWELL,” with a selfie of Mangan shot in the face behind Morton, who was smiling, according to WTAE TV Channel 4 Pittsburgh.
According to Trib Live News, Morton also texted the following, ” [I t]old you I cleaned up the shells. Ryan was not the last one.”
The mother of the individual in Wisconsin who was playing on the Xbox with Morton and who received the text with the horrific selfie contacted the police the following day.
Morton was charged after police executed a search warrant on his home. He is being held in the Westmoreland County Juvenile Detention Facility with no bond pending trial. He will be formally arraigned in May.
Do you think that Maxwell Morton should be charged with premeditated murder or is this a horrible accident?
Some killings are clear-cut. In an article in the Inquisitr, in Fort Worth, Texas, there was a murder-suicide over a $500 winning lottery ticket. A 46-year-old man identified as Terry Martin first shot his live-in girlfriend, 48-year-old Laurice Hampton, then himself, after Laurice demanded half of the winning ticket. He died instantly, and she perished after she called 911 for help.
[Photo Courtesy Facebook]