MySpace Postings Used to Convict Man Accused in Texas Killing

February 17th, 2012 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals recently upheld the use of Myspace postings as evidence against a Dallas man accused of killing another man in a shootout. Ronnie Tienda Jr. was sentenced to 35 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of a serious felony, based at least in part on MySpace evidence presented by the prosecutor at his 2008 trial.

Included on the MySpace page was the comment, “I kill to stay rich!” and a photo linking Tienda to a Dallas-area gang, among other things.

Even though there was no direct proof that Tienda had made comments on the social media site about the killing himself, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals noted that there were enough other posts by Tienda, such as comments, music and photos, to find that he was in control of the Myspace page.

Despite recognizing that social media sites like MySpace, or even Facebook and Twitter, can be hacked into, the Court found ample evidence, “to support a finding that the MySpace pages belonged to (Tienda) and that he created and maintained them.”

Tienda’s criminal defense lawyer unsuccessfully tried to exclude the MySpace evidence from being presented at trial. It could not be authenticated, his attorney claimed, and it should not be considered credible evidence of Tienda’s involvement in the shooting. No weapons were recovered by police from the shooting; there was no way to match the bullets found in the victim’s body to any firearm in Tienda’s possession.

If you’re arrested and charged with a Texas crime, you should be read your Miranda rights, warning you, among other things, of your right to remain silent and that anything you say can be used against you. Your Texas criminal defense attorney can explain to you that what law enforcement may use against you is not limited to your conversation with police, but your conversations with friends, family and many others. And what you, or others, post on any online profile like MySpace.

Source: MyFox Houston, “Court: MySpace Used Properly in Murder Conviction,” Michael Graczyk, February 8, 2012

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