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Killer selfie: Teen found guilty after shooting friend, taking picture with dead body

by Cortney Peltz

“I’m just a chill kind of guy,” the killer said in court

A Pennsylvania teenager insists he is not an evil person after authorities say he shot his friend in the face and then posed for a selfie with the victim’s body.

The shooting occurred in February 2015 inside of the victim’s Jeannette home.

The teens, Maxwell Morton (pictured left) and Ryan Mangan (pictured right), were pretending to be rappers and wanted to imitate what they saw in music videos, WTAE reported. That’s when the boys, both 16 at the time, grabbed a handgun and began waving it around.

Morton, believing the handgun was not loaded, then reportedly pointed the weapon at Mangan and pulled the trigger. The gun fired once, hitting Mangan under his left eye.

Morton (who testified that he didn’t call 911 because he was afraid to tell anyone what happened) then took a selfie of himself smiling next to his friend’s dying body.

Morton sent the selfie to another teenager via Snapchat. That teen’s parent quickly reported the photo to Jeanette police, who arrested Morton soon after the incident.

The photo was introduced as evidence during Morton’s trial.

When asked by prosecutors why he was smiling in the Snapchat photo, Morton said he didn’t know why, but said it was “psychological” and he “was nervous,” WPXI reported. Morton broke down in tears as he testified that he did not mean to kill his best friend.

“People think I am a monster. I am not. I’m just a chill kind of guy,” Morton said in court, according to the Tribune-Review.

Forensic pathologist, Dr. Cyril Wecht, testified that Mangan may have survived had Morton called for help immediately after the shooting, WTAE reported.

Westmoreland County jurors deliberated for six hours Thursday evening before convicting Morton of third-degree murder. They rejected the prosecutions theory that Morton intentionally killed Mangan.

“It was a difficult case because of what he did afterwards, in terms of the selfie and all of the other stuff,” Morton’s defense attorney, Pat Thomassey, told WTAE. “I give the jury credit. I think they came to a reasonable conclusion based upon all of the evidence they saw.”

Morton, now 18, is scheduled to be sentenced in May. He faces up to 40 years in prison.

[Feature Photo: Handout]

Cortney Peltz is an Ohio-based writer with a passion for crime and justice, who’s work was previously featured on the website for Nancy Grace on HLN. She is currently a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology.