The Top 8 Crimes that Went Viral

What do criminals post on their feeds? You’ve seen the cute images on social media of babies, puppies and new cars, but there’s no better way to seek validation for violent acts and to spread ideology than to make deadly exploits go viral.

At first thought, it seems counterintuitive. Are they trying to get caught? Do they think only like-minded friends will see, and no one will alert the police? Often it looks like a spur of the moment decision. This generation is so used to sharing every trivial moment of their lives that it’s only right that the most shocking thing they’ve ever done makes the cut.

I’ve found these eight as the best (or worst) real life examples of criminals brazenly showcasing their wrongdoing.

Selfie with the Victim

Maxwell Marion Morton posted a selfie with the dead body of Ryan Mangan on Snapchat. The 16-year-old from the Pittsburgh area was later charged with fatally shooting him. Per Snapchat's feature, the photo was supposed to self-destruct a few seconds after it was viewed, but Morton’s friends saved it.

With the picture showing a bullet hole in Mangan’s face, Morton allegedly wrote, “Told you I cleaned up the shells. Ryan was not the last one.”
H/T: Triblive


Beaten to Death on Facebook

Malik Jones’ Facebook followers must have gotten quite a shock when they saw the video he shared of him and two friends beating Delfino Mora to death. The 62-year-old disabled man was scavenging for cans when Jones punched him in the jaw and his head landed on the pavement.

One might think that they were so shaken by what happened that they’d delete the video and lay low. Nope. The teenagers decided to share it online.

Not so shocking: they were arrested.


Sucker Punching for Sport

It takes a real brave guy to cold cock an unsuspecting person from behind. Now it’s become an international sport.

The “knockout game” is when someone attempts to floor a victim with one punch, often from behind or when they’re least suspecting it. Many times they upload it online and share it with their friends. It’s happened dozens of times in the United States and Europe, sometimes resulting in the death of the victims. Usually, it’s several teenagers against one person. They’ve even targeted elderly women.
H/T: CBS News

Fight Club: The High School Years

Remember when high school fights were stuff of fuzzy memory, where the person telling the story could embellish to sound tougher than they actually were? Now, many school brawls are caught on phone cameras and posted online. Search YouTube for high school fights and the results will run past 300,000.

Someone really should have told these brawlers that it’s illegal to punch and kick people. And that it probably doesn’t look good on a college application either.

Here’s an extreme example in New Mexico where the police are investigating how one high school has become a staging ground for fights on a YouTube channel. Forget teachers, they need referees.
H/T: KRQE News 13


Look What I Just Stole!

Florida is home to some of the nation’s dumbest crooks. Depree Johnson made thinks easy for Palm Beach County police investigating a string of armed break-ins by posting photos with the loot on Instagram. He showed off everything from guns to jewelry to slippers.

Johnson got hit with 142 charges. No lack of evidence there.
H/T: Gawker

Valentine’s Day Cat Punching Memorabilia

As terrible as the above title is, it was real. On Valentine’s Day 2015, someone created a Facebook page of cat abuse, including punching, threats to hurt cats, and an animal on fire.

Facebook canned the page after 30,000 decent human beings signed a petition against it. Yet, the fact that there’s a sizable number of people who enjoy hurting kittens and want to celebrate it on Valentine’s Day says something about how social media can bring like-minded sadists together.
H/T: USA Today


Ice Bucket Challenge with a Cruel Twist

The Ice Bucket Challenge was an incredibly productive way to raise money for the fight against ALS, but five teens in Ohio twisted it around to humiliate a teen with learning disabilities.

They convinced the 15-year-old to strip to his underwear to make the douse of freezing water more dramatic. Instead, they drenched him in urine, feces and cigarette butts.

They posted the video to Instagram. Instead of encouraging donations, they were sharing cruel laughs.

Police didn’t find the prank so funny. They were charged in juvenile court with assault, delinquency and disorderly conduct.
H/T: NY Daily News


Directing Traffic

The video of a 14-year-old girl in Indianapolis beating a fellow teenage student as she asked “What did I do? What did I do?” quickly rang up more than one million hits. What makes this more surprising than the hair-tugging and head stomping is what the girl filming it did.

Just when it seemed that it was over and the victim tried to leave with her 5-year-old brother, the girl behind the camera dares the bully to go after them again. The bully punches the older girl right in the face. When the young boy tries to intervene, she grabs him around the neck and tosses him to the concrete.

The girl who directed this beating was so proud of her film work that she posted it online. When you’re the one telling a bully to hit a juvenile and a young child, you’re no longer a bystander.
H/T: Pix 11

I researched the phenomenon of violent social media posts as for my thriller Famous After Death as the characters seek viral notoriety for their murders. Like me, you probably noticed a theme here. Most of the criminals are teenagers. Is it something about the millennial generation that has no shame when it comes to sharing their wrongs? Perhaps the youth of any generation would have acted the same way if they had today’s technology. What do you think?

This sweepstakes has ended. Thanks for entering!

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Brian Bandell's Famous After Death!

To enter, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

Famous After Death Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at beginning at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) July 23, 2015. Sweepstakes ends 1:59 p.m. ET July 30, 2015. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Brian Bandell is the author of Famous After Death, a thriller about teenagers who make murder go viral, and Mute, a murder mystery with a science fiction twist. He’s also the senior reporter at the South Florida Business Journal and the winner of more than 25 journalism awards.


  1. DebP

    Geez, people never cease to amaze me.

  2. Katherine Marion

    Talk about self-destructive social media use! I do think the teenagers today are more violent than in previous generations. I’m puzzled as to why it doesn’t occur to them that they are creating evidence against themselves.

  3. Sharron Walker

    This sounds like a book I would like to read!

  4. Dawn K

    looks pretty good

  5. Sandy Klocinski

    Just when you thought you’d seen it all! It seems that the whole world has gone berserk.

  6. Vicky Boackle

    sounds great.

  7. Lori Walker


  8. Kim Keithline

    sounds great sign me up

  9. Anastasia

    Yes! Count me in 🙂

  10. Denise Sachs

    I’d love to read this.

  11. Peter W. Horton Jr.

    I stay off social media! So I guess I will never be famous! Yes!

  12. L L

    interesting posts


    Interesting, I think.

  14. Betty Curran

    I just wish the police and courts could double the penalty just for being stupid!

  15. Belinda Shaw

    looks great

  16. Kimberly Hilbert

    Sounds like a really great read. I love finding new books and authors.

  17. Kim Johnston

    Technology stories rock!

  18. Charlee Griffith

    Sounds great!

  19. susan beamon

    That kids are mean to each other is not news. That they can get followers of their nasty behavior is. Social media has the charaterstic that it catches these nasty teens and makes them more visible to the rest of us. There does sreem to be more of them, but then there are more of us in total. 1% of 1000 is larger than 1% of 500, but it’s still the same percentage of the population.

  20. ellie lewis


  21. pearl berger

    Sounds amazing.

  22. Laurence Coven

    If I don’t win this one, I probably won’t win a sweepstakes until after my death.

  23. Rena

    Glad that most criminals are stupid — makes catching them a lot easier!
    Looking forward to reading this book.

  24. Nana8

    The media is just sick. It’s abuse of power is causing every to be offended by something th at has nothing to do. With real issues. It’s made parented afraid to correct their kids to the point we have a nation that runs rampant instead of work together

  25. Jeffrey Tretin

    sounds incredible

  26. Dan Carr

    Social media can get scary.

  27. Sue Leonhardt

    Love to read this book.

  28. Janet Stewart

    Thanks for the contest.

  29. Michael Carter

    Please enter me in this sweepstakes.
    Thanks —

  30. Clydia DeFreese

    Thanks for all the great books you tell us about.

  31. Deanna Stillings

    Too many teens today have been raised with the idea that whatever they do is o.k. They have never had to face any consequences. Now they will!!!

  32. patricia gibby

    Sounds good.

  33. Susan Gainen

    Why I am never surprised to see what people post on social media. Not surprised, not shocked, but often aghast. What were they thinking?

    I’m looking forward to this book!

  34. MARY Mclain

    When I was a teenager I respected and obeyed my parents. Today, many teenagers are raised in single parent homes and many teenagers seem to be the ones in charge of the home.

  35. Don McClure

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  36. Robin Weatherington

    [b]I would like to get my hands on this one![/b]

  37. Barbara Bibel

    Obviously these guys are not geniuses. It will be fun to read about them.

  38. Linda Peters

    looks like a great summer read, thanks

  39. Catherine Myers

    Sounds Like an interesting read.

  40. Sonya Allstun

    Sick people they need to be locked in a nut house and have their heads examined

  41. Daniel Morrell

    sounds interesting

  42. Aaron Shapiro

    Thanks for this chance!

  43. Robby Rob

    this sounds like a good one

  44. Janice Milliken

    Gaining fame after death is the ultimate for some-hopefully they die on a slow news day!

  45. Lori Rutherford

    Sounds like an excelllent read!

  46. L

    The book sounds like an interesting read, as well as scary, which it should be. I just read a report that the current “Me Generation” is 40% less empathetic than previous generations. That’s also scary and probably has a lot to do with why these types of crimes are happening. This is definitely a trend that we need to stop. Maybe this book will help shed a light on this growing problem!

  47. denise a

    sounds good

  48. denise april

    now my names not red

  49. Velocity

    I think every generation has young people who behave in hurtful unthinking manners. They just adjust to the technology of the time.

  50. kent w. smith

    It all boils down to a need for instant gratification for self-absorbed people and a need to have their actions admired or, at the least, acknowledged without a thought to the consequences to them or their victimes.

  51. Andra Dalton

    Count me in!!! Would love to win!!! Thanks for the opportunity to win & good luck to all who enter!!!:)

  52. Joanne Mielczarski

    I love all the topics covered in this book – would be a very enjoyable read for me.

  53. Carl White

    [b]I am always amazed at those seeking fame for murdering people. Personally I never seek any attention after I murder someone….just kidding people.[/b]

  54. Saundra K. Warren

    I’m always amazed how people can do things like this and then think that everyone else would like to see it?? Sadly many are, doesn’t say much for our society

  55. Ed Nemmers

    I would like to read the work of Brian Bandell.

  56. Linda Fast

    I ‘m hoping I win! Violence will never stop and I do not think it is getting worse. It’s just that we hear about it instantly through media.

  57. Daniel Hill

    Wowzeers count me in

  58. Francine Anchondo

    Thanks for the chance

  59. Gwendolyn


  60. Daniel Vice

    I would like this

  61. Tammy Evans

    thank you for the giveaway, please enter me

  62. Cheri Oggy

    I liked reading the previews; the book sounds terrific!

  63. Tim Moss

    Good deal, count me in!

  64. Melissa Keith

    “Florida is home to some of the nation’s dumbest crooks.” LOL! So true! America’s Most Wanted come here all the time! ROFL!
    I think younger criminals post their gastly deeds to show off.
    I read a lot of True Crime and this books appeals to me immensely! I REALLY WANT TO WIN. Thanks.

  65. Lily

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  66. Heather Cowley

    My stomach turns when I see what passes as acceptable behavior to some people. When someone posts something even similar to those above and I see comments that seem to encourage it, I fear for the future of our nation…and our humanity. We’re losing our souls.

  67. DIANE PINCHOT social media comes responsibility as with other aspects of life, but as with all, some are irresponsible, cruel, and stupid. I see many posting much and this is why I post little and my page is linked only to friends, but I also realize that means all of their friends wherever they may be can see all! Careful, careful what you post lest someone you don’t want sees it. I will be buying this book if I don’t win because I want to read it!

  68. L L


  69. vicki wurgler

    thanks sounds good

  70. Marcia 62

    Sounds interesting

  71. Cindy Hipolito

    A book like this will definitely open your eyes to what kids are willing to show online. It is scary and horrendous. Nevertheless, I would be interested to discuss this information with my grandchildren and open a dialogue about fellow friends or students at their local school and what is acceptable there.

  72. Suzanne Rorhus

    Incredible how self-absorbed some can be!

Comments are closed.