Maxwell Morton messaged the girlfriend of Ryan Mangan, the teen he allegedly admitted killing, after he took a selfie with Mangan’s body Wednesday. Brianna Kelly, Mangan’s girlfriend, told WTAE, Pittsburg, she didn’t see the message until the day after her boyfriend’s death.
Morton and Mangan were supposedly friends for years and the accused killer began to mourn the teen’s death. "'It's going to be rough. He was my A1. It's not going to be the same without him,'" Brianna Kelly said Morton told her, according to WTAE.
"The night it happened, he messaged me and was just like, 'Yo.' The next day, I didn't read it until Thursday, and I was like, 'What's up?' He was like, 'Ryan got shot in the head. I'm sorry,'" Kelly told WTAE.
Morton’s social media presence has essentially vanished since the killing. His family got rid of all his photos, friends said, according to the Daily Beast. Various Instagram photos of the victim show Mangan holding guns on social media. “9 On Me #WhoSaidIAintOnS---,” Mangan captioned one photo. “Let a n---- try me #Gang,” another said.
Morton, 16, reportedly said the shooting was an accident, but his friends don’t buy his story. He smiled in a photo with Mangan’s body in the background and then sent it to a friend on the app Snapchat, which is known for its ephemeral pictures. However, users can save screenshots of images before the time is up, and that’s exactly what Morton’s recipient did. The picture was shown to authorities.
“[Police] received a copy of the photo, which depicted the victim sitting in the chair with a gunshot wound to the face,” according to a police affidavit obtained by Pittsburg Tribune-Review. “It also depicts a black male taking the ‘selfie,’ with his face facing the camera and the victim behind him. The photo had the name ‘Maxwell’ across the top.”
It’s the first time someone has taken a selfie with a corpse, Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck told the Pittsburg Tribune-Review Monday. “I've never seen it before,” Peck said, “but it was a key piece of evidence that led investigators to the defendant.”
Friends want answers. "I want to know why they did it to him. Why they would leave his body for his mother to clean up. And then stand here, blatantly smile at a phone while somebody is in the background with a gunshot to their face?" friend Joscelyn Elias told WTAE. "How do you accidentally take a picture? How do you accidentally take a selfie? You don't do that. You don't," Kelly said.
Police said Morton confessed to the shooting but a motive for the killing is unknown. The gun used in the crime has not been located.
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