A video posted on Facebook of Chicago teens beating a 62-year-old man led to their arrest on Monday. The teens were reportedly playing a violent game of picking out a random stranger and then knocking him out.
Malik Jones, 16, Nicholas Ayala, 17, and Anthony Malcolm, 18, surrounded Delfino Mora early on a Saturday morning. Jones asked if he had any money and then punched Mora in the jaw. The crack of his head on the pavement was picked up on the cell phone Ayala and Malcolm were using to record the incident. Jones later posted the video on his Facebook page.
In the video the three teens walk away laughing, according to The Chicago Tribune. Jones also stole $60 from Mora's wallet.
Someone else is having the last laugh since that video is what ties the three teens to Mora's death.
Mora was found three hours after the incident by a passerby. He was pronounced dead the next day due to blunt trauma.
The three teens are being charged with first degree murder for their role in Mora's death.
Degrees of murder indicate the seriousness of the crime. For someone to be charged with first degree murder means that the killing was willful and premeditated. The assailant must have intended to do something that could reasonably result in death and must have thought about it beforehand.
Even if 'premeditation' only lasts a few seconds that is enough for a first-degree murder charge. The law is intended to punish people who think about their actions and then go on to commit terrible acts of violence.
Even though Jones is the only one who physically harmed Mora, both Ayala and Malcolm are charged with the same crime. They are liable as accomplices.
An accomplice doesn't have to help with the crime. It's enough that they encourage someone to act. Ayala and Malcolm knew what Jones was planning and they followed him, helped him tape the encounter, and laughed about it afterwards.
In Illinois, as in most states, accomplices can be charged with the same crime as the person who committed the action. All three teens will face the same charges although they will likely have different trials.
It's hard to understand why these Chicago teens posted a video of this gruesome incident but that Facebook post was in part the reason police were able to link them to the beating. All three teens are currently being held without bond.
- Chicago teens charged in deadly attack posted on Facebook were playing a "game," prosecutors say (CBS News)
- What is First Degree Murder? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Woman Gets Probation for Would-Be Facebook Murder (Philadelphia Criminal Law News)