Cody Hall was initially charged with manslaughter.
A US teenager has become the first person ever to be charged with murder because of a Twitter message.
Cody Hall, 18, was initially charged with manslaughter after knocking over and killing a cyclist while driving at more than 80mph in a 40mph zone.
However, due to boasting about speeding at 140mph on his Twitter feed a few months earlier, prosecutors in California have increased the charges to murder and revoked his bail.
Hall reportedly sent out a tweet saying ‘live fast die young’ and ‘come on a death ride with me’. He also described the car as a ‘death trap’. His Twitter account has since been restricted from public access.
It is thought that the message will serve as a ‘pre-offence e-statement’ – often an email, handwritten note or text message – to add to the prosecution’s theory of ‘implied malice’ required to prove a murder charge.
It will now be down to a jury to decide whether the tweets expressed intent to commit murder.
Comments made on social media are increasingly being used as evidence in criminal cases in the UK as well as the US, according to lawyers.
John Cooper QC, a criminal and human rights lawyer, told the Metro newspaper that defence lawyers will read what statements witnesses make on Facebook to see if they are inconsistent with their police statements