Morton 16, smiled in a self-portrait that showed his friend Ryan Mangan’s lifeless body in the background and then sent it to another friend via Snapchat, an app is known for ‘self-destructing’ photos within a certain period of time.
Users can often screenshot Snapchat images before the time is up, and that’s exactly what the recipient of Morton’s gruesome message did.
Ryan Mangan (pictured left), 16, was found dead in his mother’s home on Wednesday with a gun shot wound to the face. The photo, posted to the popular, photo-destroying app Snapchat, showed Mangan sitting in a chair with Maxwell Morton, the teen homicide suspect, taking the self portrait with the victim behind him.
Police received a call from a mother whose son received a Snapchat photo from the 16-year-old Maxwell whose first name was visible across the top of the picture, and it matched the description of the crime scene.
The photo “depicted the victim sitting in the chair with a gunshot wound to the face,” which, police said, is how Mangan’s mother found her son when she returned home at about 6 p.m. that day. The Snapchat photo had the name Maxwell at the top, and Morton also sent the same boy text messages saying, “Told you I cleaned up the shells” and “Ryan was not the last one,” according to the criminal complaint.
Authorities executed a search warrant at the suspect’s home, where they found a 9 mm handgun in the basement hidden under the stairs. Police say he confessed to using the gun to shoot Mangan in the face and leaving him in his room, however no motive has been established.
Friends of the teens 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 reporters.
“How do you accidentally take a picture? How do you accidentally take a selfie? You don’t do that. You don’t.”
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.
VIDEO: Teen Posts Snapchat Selfie of Murdered Victim
Morton also messaged the girlfriend of his alleged victim after he took a selfie with Mangan’s body last Wednesday.
Brianna Kelly, Mangan’s girlfriend, says 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 will be tried in court as an adult, however his attorney could try to get a judge to move the case to juvenile court, where Morton would face incarceration or parole only until he is 21.