An 18-year-old accused of killing a bicyclist with his car has had a vehicular manslaughter charge upgraded to murder in part because he had previously boasted about speeding on Twitter. prosecutors said Thursday.
Cody Hall, of Pleasanton, was being held without bail after he was charged Wednesday with the murder of 58-year-old Diana Hersevoort.
Hall was going more than 80 mph in a 40 mph zone when he hit Hersevoort and her husband along a busy boulevard in Dublin on June 9, prosecutors allege. Hersevoort’s husband only broke an arm, but she was killed.
Hall reportedly stopped at the scene and was cooperative with police.
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 Alameda County district attorney’s office said.
A Twitter account apparently belonging to Hall is now restricted from public view, but local media outlets have posted screen grabs of an account that apparently belongs to Hall, where he asks his Twitter followers if they want to go for a ‘death ride’ with him. In other posts, he wrote things like ‘drive fast live young,’ and posted photos of his speedometer clocking high speeds.
Brian Welch, a supervisor of the homicide unit at the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office who is not involved in this case, told the Oakland 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’s called a ‘pre-offense 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.
People who know Hall describe him as a hard-working kid who loves animals.
‘I am saying he isn’t a devil or a deliberate murderer, he made a horrific, terrible mistake and he will pay, I, personally will not hang him out to dry or vilify him, he will suffer enough by the natural consequences of his actions, a commenter who uses the handle Cr commented on a story about Hall on the Pleasanton Patch.
Another commenter with the handle ‘ken mo’ wrote that ‘As reckless and inexcusable as this young man’s actions were, please keep in mind he did not go out on the road that day planning to kill someone, it was a complete accident. His actions have horrific consequences and he will have to pay. But to all of you who continue to denounce him I don’t think you realize this could have easily been your own kid. It was a stupid teenage mistake that SO many high schoolers make, many just luck out and never hurt anyone.’
Halls father, Aaron Hall – a twice-convicted felon – was arrested on several felony counts on July 11, when police were serving a search warrant at his house related to his son’s collision and found illegal assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Read more: Daily Mail
Leave a reply