Fact Fiction

10 People Incriminated by Their Own Selfies

Many people love selfies. Sometimes they are taken to commemorate an important occasion. Other times, they are meant to celebrate a moment. Often they result from spontaneous impulses.

The selfies on this list were also taken for a variety of reasons, perhaps as a souvenir, to document a fact, to accompany public comment, to secure future bragging rights, for vanity, or for some other particular purpose of the photographers who took them.

While these selfies may seem strange to us, they had an unexpected result. These self-portraits incriminated the very people who created them.

Related: 10 criminals that the emergency services had to rescue

10 two california women

Built during the 1st century AD. C., the Roman Colosseum is a cultural and historical artifact respected and admired throughout the world, well, except in the case of two California women, it seems. They may have admired the ancient amphitheater but apparently disrespected it, at least not enough to refrain from carving their respective initials on its exterior during a March 2015 sightseeing tour.

The vandals were in their twenties when they committed the crime. Despite the presence of signs, in both English and Italian, warning visitors not to vandalize the site, the women are said to have been “shocked” at their arrest. The police had compelling evidence that the tourists had committed acts of “aggravated damage to a building of historical and artistic interest”. Not only were his initials carved into the wall of the Colosseum, but the vandals had also had their pictures taken in front of his work.[1]

9 cheyenne rose antonie

A Canadian man discovered the body of a young woman by the side of a road not far from the Saskatoon landfill. Although her bare body was cold, she was still alive, if only just. A belt lay near her. The victim was transported to a hospital, but she died shortly after her arrival. By making publicly available photographs of the 18-year-old woman’s tattoos, broken watch and jacket, police discovered her identity; Her name was Brittany Jane Gargol.

Authorities’ investigation also linked the victim to 21-year-old Cheyenne Rose Antoine. The night of Gargol’s death, the two women had gone bar hopping, Antoine told investigators, but police proved the suspect’s story untrue. A surveillance camera at one of the bars the women allegedly visited showed no sign of her presence.

Investigators also discovered that, on the night of the murder, Antoine had told a friend that he had argued with and subsequently murdered Gargol, whom he first beat and then strangled. The deciding factor in the case was a selfie Antoine had posted on Facebook. The photograph showed her using the murder weapon, Gargol’s belt, which had been found near the victim’s body.

On a previous occasion, Antoine had posted another message. Addressed to the murder victim, he said: “Where are you? I have not heard from you. I hope you got home safely. On March 25, 2015, as part of a plea deal, Antoine pleaded guilty to murdering Gargol and received a seven-year prison sentence.[2]

8 adam howe

His 2014 robbery of a building and recreational vehicle located on the Hilltop Tabernacle Church premises in Chula Vista, California, netted 26-year-old Adam Howe $10,000. The selfie on his phone, which he left at the crime scene, earned him an arrest for robbery. Howe was charged with stealing cash and a stolen laptop from the building and stolen bags and watches from the mobile home.

The background of the selfie showed features that the investigating detective recognized. While visiting the site, he spoke to witnesses who, recognizing the “selfie suspect”, referred the detective to other places Howe regularly visited. Howe was found at one of these locations, and a search of his personal property uncovered some of the items he had stolen from the church and trailer.

Howe was sentenced to three years probation with credit for time served.[3]

7 Tommy Beverly

Some of the loot taken by 27-year-old Tommy Beverly indirectly led to his arrest. After the Shreveport, Louisiana robbery suspect stole two cellphones and some cash in July 2018, it seems he just couldn’t resist the urge to capture the moment by taking multiple selfies with at least one of the phones.

Its owner had set up the stolen device to upload digital photos taken with his camera to the cloud, which is exactly what happened, after Beverly took photos of himself. Three days after the crime, police were notified of the location of the cell phone and a lead allowed them to identify the suspect.[4]

6 Travis Birkley

Donta H. Williams was trafficking K2, or “Spice,” a synthetic version of the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, laced with synthetic psychoactive chemicals, into the house Birkley had gone to rob. Birkley was surprised by Michelle Williams, who was trying to protect her husband from her, and Birkley, who said she had a cousin with him, killed Donta and Michelle before murdering the other victims to eliminate witnesses to the crime.

Police determined that Birkley had acted alone in killing the victims, who were identified as Caleb Jordan, Javoni Liddell, Charles Hardy, Donald Smith, Michelle Williams and Donta Williams.

On January 27, 2023, Birkley, 35, was charged with all six murders. However, the process was suspended when she was declared incompetent to stand trial. Prosecutors stated they may request that Birkley be held in protective custody or committed due to mental incapacity.

In a bizarre twist to the ongoing case, police found a selfie on Birkley’s phone. The photograph was taken in the basement where the bodies of his victims were found. In the picture, the killer is wearing Donta’s sunglasses, which connects him to the crimes.[5]

5 Cecilia Aguilar

According to reporter Divya Kishore, 20-year-old Army Specialist Aaron David Robinson committed suicide on July 1, 2020, after murdering 20-year-old Private First Class Vanessa Guillén. The motive for the murder may have been related to the fact that Guillén had previously confided to her family that she had been sexually harassed in Fort Hood, Texas. Cecily Aguilar, rumored by some to be Robinson’s “estranged wife or girlfriend,” was arrested the same day.

In his confession, he told police that Robinson had killed Guillen with a hammer, put her in a box, and took her out of the post. At the end of Aguilar’s workday, he had taken her to a location along the León River, where, using an “ax or ax and a machete-type knife,” the duo had hacked off Guillén’s arms, legs and head. They then attempted to burn his remains, before burying them in three places.

Apparently, it was not enough for Aguilar to dismember and bury the victim’s body. The Belton, Texas woman also had to post selfies with gruesome captions on Instagram. The last of the series, posted on May 25, with excessive hashtags, is probably the most horrendous: “People who fight fire with fire end up with the ashes of their [sic] own integrity.”[6]

4 Danielle Saxton

Apparently, 27-year-old Danielle Saxton felt she just had to have the dress and jewelry she saw at Morties Boutique in West Frankfort, Illinois. She also seems to have been overcome with the desire to show off her new outfit. After allegedly stealing the garment and her jewelry, she posted on Facebook a selfie in which she looks dressed in her new acquisitions, modeling them.

Her photo caught the attention of one of the visitors to the social media platform, who mentioned the photograph to the boutique’s owner, Gay Morton, who, in turn, notified the police. Police charged Saxton with theft of less than $500 and failure to appear in court on another unrelated charge.[7]

3 Donald A. “Chip” Pugh

Donald A. “Chip” Pugh, 45, labeled by police in Lima, Ohio, as a “person of interest” in the investigation of various crimes, was offended by photos of him that police posted on social media. In one image, his image includes the stubble; another appears to have been taken at a bad angle.

The third photograph, however, is one that Pugh approves of. He should. As the police explained in a comment on the selfie, “This photo was sent to us by Mr. Pugh himself.” Pugh added a caption to his selfie: “Here’s a better shot.” The police added: “We appreciate his help, but now we would appreciate it if he would come and talk to us at the LPD about his charges.”

Pugh was arrested in Century, Florida, following an anonymous tip. The police photo, a mugshot of the suspect, had made him “appear [he] it was a Thundercats,” Pugh complained, explaining his reason for sending them the selfie.

Lima police thanked both the Escambia County, Florida police, the power of social media and whistleblowers for Pugh’s arrest.[8]

2 Ashley Keast

The BBC News headline sums up the story: “Bungling Rotherham burglar caught for selfie”. After breaking into a house in Rotherham, Yorkshire, England, 25-year-old Ashley Keast took a self-incriminating selfie to celebrate the theft of electrical items, jewelery and an Audi A4 for £27,000.

He used a stolen SIM card, which he had inserted into a different phone than the one he took the card from, and posted the photo of himself on the WhatsApp messaging app. In the process, he unknowingly also sent the selfie to his victim’s colleagues, who notified the police.

He was arrested the following day at his own residence, where officers found a stolen Rolex watch worth £4,000 hidden behind a radiator. Keast also admitted that he was “in violation of a suspended sentence.”[9]

1 Adam Hossein Nayeri

Adam Hossein Nayeri and his fellow inmates were not happy with the house they shared, an F cell of the Orange County, California, jail, a maximum-security dormitory that resembled a World War II US Army barracks. They decided that an escape was in order and somehow secured the cell phones on which they recorded a video of their escape. The footage is accompanied by a voiceover in which Nayeri offers a running, sometimes mocking commentary. Channel 4, NBC Los Angeles, showed the video, warning viewers that the recording was edited only to remove the music in the original due to copyright issues and to blur “the faces of inmates who do not appear to be connected to the case.”

The escapees left the bedroom through a metal screen in the wall, which had already been cut out and, until now, hidden behind a cut-out bunk bed. The prisoners then crawled through plumbing shafts, removed metal bars, and ascended to the roof. The video does not record their descent to the ground, but Nayeri said the men “had an industrial rope, a toolbox, a duffel bag and new clothes.”

Once free, they continued with their selfies as they took turns posing at the corner of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, showing off the van where they were sleeping, and presumably getting ready for the party with the marijuana and Jack Daniels shown in the video. However, as Vicki Vargas of Channel 4 observed, the video of the inmates did not include “the moment hours after they were arrested”.

It seems likely that prison authorities will use the self-incriminating selfie as evidence against escapees and as a means of improving prison security. All the Orange County District Attorney’s Office would say is that commenting on the video would be inappropriate because the case is in litigation.[10]

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