Show Mobile Navigation
Crime |

10 Haunting Murder Cases With Unsettling Selfies

by Robert Grimminck
fact checked by Micah Duke

Digital cameras have become ubiquitous in modern society, and selfies have completely flooded social media. There is a good chance that any time you log on to one of your social media accounts, you’ll find at least one selfie on your feed. You, or someone you know, may take multiple selfies every day. The point is that selfies are usually harmless and even a boring part of life at this point. However, there are a few selfies of people who did something so horrible that their shocking picture stands out from millions, if not billions, of other selfies.

10 Maxwell Marion Morton

Snapchat murder? Photo ‘was a key piece of evidence’

On February 4, 2015, Maxwell Marion Morton and Ryan Mangan, two 16-year-old friends, were hanging out at Morton’s house near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Morton claimed that the two of them were playing with a 9-millimeter handgun, and Mangan was supposed to take a picture of Morton aiming the gun at him. With the gun aimed at his friend, Morton pulled the trigger, shooting Mangan in the face. After the murder, Morton took a selfie, which was uploaded to Snapchat, an app that allows users to send pictures, which will automatically delete themselves in 1–10 seconds, to other users. In the picture, Morton is smiling while his dead friend lies crumpled up behind him. The photo said “Maxwell.”

A friend took a screenshot of the picture, and the police were contacted. The selfie was key evidence when Morton was charged with first-degree murder. Another piece of evidence was a text to a friend that said, “Told you I cleaned up the shells,” and “Ryan was not the last one.” Morton said that the shooting was accidental. The picture has not been released to the media.

9 Jamie Reynolds

Sometime between 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM on May 26, 2013, 17-year-old Georgia Williams went to the home of 23-year-old Jamie Reynolds in Wellington, England. His parents were away, and he told Williams to come over for a photo shoot. Once Reynolds had Williams in his house, he got a noose around her neck and managed to hang her. Reynolds took pictures of himself with Williams as she died. After she was dead, he continued to take pictures as he stripped and violated her body.

Two days after Williams was last heard from, her family contacted the police, and Reynolds was arrested in Scotland the day after Williams was reported missing. Williams’s body was found on May 31, and Reynolds was charged with the murder.

After the arrest, it came to light that five years before the murder, Reynolds lured another girl to his house and tried to strangle her. He had been let off with a warning. After that, his parents told officers that Reynolds was addicted to extreme pornography and even drew nooses around pictures of girls he liked.

Reynolds was convicted of the murder and was given a whole-life sentence, meaning he will die in prison. Due to the incredibly sensitive nature of the pictures, they have never been released.

8 Joanna Dennehy

Joanna Dennehy

Photo credit: Cambridgeshire Police via BBC

Over a 10-day span in March 2013, 30-year-old mother of two Joanna Dennehy stabbed three men to death in Peterborough, England. Her first victim was 31-year-old Lukasz Slaboszewski. She lured him to a home and stabbed him to death on March 19. Dennehy stabbed her roommate, John Chapman, age 56, to death 10 days later. Next, she asked her boss and landlord, 48-year-old Kevin Lee, to come to her home, where he, too, was stabbed. After killing Lee, Dennehy called her friend and sang “Oops! . . . I Did It Again” by Britney Spears.

The next morning, Dennehy and her boyfriend, Gary Stretch, fled Peterborough, and on April 2, they were in the town of Hereford. The couple roamed the streets, looking for another victim, when they came upon Robin Bereza, who was walking his dog. Dennehy got out of the car, stabbed Bereza in the back, got back into the car, and gave Stretch a kiss. Nine minutes later, the couple found a second victim, John Rogers, who was also walking his dog. Dennehy stabbed him 40 times and stole his dog. Luckily, both Bereza and Rogers survived the attacks.

Dennehy was arrested a short time after the Hereford stabbings. On her phone, police found the above selfie of her grinning just before she stabbed Bereza and Rogers. That picture of the serial killer grinning as she hunted for more victims, along with a few other pictures where Dennehy posed with a large jagged knife, were shown to the jury at her trial. She was found guilty and was given a whole-life sentence, being only the third woman in England’s criminal history to receive that sentence.

7 Tyler Hadley

Tyler Hadley

Photo credit: Rolling Stone

On July 16, 2007, 17-year-old Tyler Hadley wanted to have a party. The problem was that his parents were strict and wouldn’t let him. Hadley’s solution to that problem was to beat them both to death with a claw hammer. After killing his parents, he dragged their bodies into the master bedroom and spent the next three hours cleaning up the blood.

Once the house was cleaned up, Hadley invited his friends over but told them not to smoke inside because it was his parents’ house. Soon, the party had accumulated 60 people, and Hadley was in a good mood. He even said he thought about hosting a party the next night. Little did anyone know that there were two dead bodies in the house.

At some point in the evening, Tyler decided to confide in his friend, Michael Mandell. Hadley told Mandell about the murder and even showed him the bodies. Instead of leaving, Mandell hung around for another 45 minutes, taking the selfie above. Mandell said that he took the picture because he knew it would be the last time he would see his best friend. Mandell then went home and called Crime Stoppers. Hadley was arrested. He was given two life sentences without the possibility of parole.

6 The Murder Of Angela Wrightson

Murder Teenagers

Photo credit: The Hartlepool Mail

On the morning of November 7, 2014, 39-year-old Angela Wrightson’s landlord found her dead on her couch, naked from the waist down. The home was in complete disarray, and it was clear that Wrightson had died a horrible death. Wrightson’s neighbors said that she had been a target for local youth gangs who would steal alcohol from her.

The investigation led back to two girls, ages 13 and 14, who haven’t been identified. They were arrested, and after being locked in the back of the police van, one of the girls took the selfie above and posted it on Snapchat.

At the trial for the girls, evidence showed that there was a struggle in 12 different places in the home. Wrightson endured over 100 injuries and was beaten with a wooden stick, a shovel, a television, a printer, a vase, and a coffee table. Ultimately, she died from blood loss. It was also heard in court that the younger girl took selfies at the crime scene once the beating had started and uploaded them to Snapchat.

After the trial started in July 2015, both the defense and the prosecution agreed to delay the trial to a later date.

5 Merrick McKoy

Merrick McKoy

Photo credit: News One

The above photo may look like a generic selfie of a man sharing a happy moment with his daughter, but sadly, this is the last picture taken of 22-year-old Merrick McKoy and his 19-month-old daughter, Mia McKoy-Phanthavongsa.

On the morning of November 18, 2013, Mia’s mother, McKoy’s ex-girlfriend, awoke to find McKoy standing over her with a gun in his hand in her Westminster, Colorado, apartment. She had a restraining order against McKoy, and they got into a fight, which forced her out of the apartment. Once she was outside the apartment, McKoy locked her out. She called the police, who arrived on scene and tried to get into the apartment. Meanwhile, on Facebook, McKoy wrote about the difficulties with his relationship with Mia’s mother and that he couldn’t live without Mia. He took the selfie above and posted it to Facebook. Shortly after the posting, McKoy shot his daughter and then turned the gun on himself.

Mia was pronounced dead at the hospital, and McKoy died a week later.

4 Daniela Poggiali

Daniela Poggiali

Photo credit: Befan

According to nurses who worked with 42-year-old Daniela Poggiali at a hospital in Lugo, Italy, she was hardworking but vindictive. For example, she was known to give laxatives to senior citizen patients at the end of her shift to make it much more unpleasant and difficult for nurses on the next shift.

Things took a much more drastic turn in October 2014, when an autopsy was performed on a 78-year-old woman who had died suddenly. Tests showed that she had died from a potassium overdose, and the only person who could have given her such a shot was Poggiali. Police looked into her records and found that during a three-month period, Poggiali had 86 patients, and 38 of them died. For comparison, her coworkers lost, on average, 10 patients in that same time frame.

Poggiali was arrested for the murder of the 78-year-old woman, and her coworkers claimed that she killed patients whom she deemed annoying. To make the story even creepier, police found pictures of Poggiali posing with people who had recently died. The police are looking into 87 deaths at the hospital during the two-year span that Poggiali worked at the hospital. Currently, she is awaiting trial.

3 Russell Williams

Russell Williams

Photo credit: The Globe and Mail

Russell Williams was a decorated colonel in the Canadian Air Force, and he was the commander of a Canadian Forces base in Trenton, Ontario. During his service, he piloted planes for people like Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and Canadian prime ministers. What most people didn’t know was that Colonel Williams also had a dark fantasy life that involved breaking into young women’s homes and putting on their undergarments, lingerie, and bathing suits. He would take pictures of himself wearing the clothing and masturbating on their beds. What’s even more disturbing is that there were thousands of these pictures.

Eventually, just breaking in and wearing their clothes wasn’t enough to satisfy him. In November 2009, Williams broke into the home of 37-year-old Corporal Marie-France Comeau. Williams had her information because she worked on the base. During his first visit, he stayed an hour in the house and took 18 pictures of himself in her underwear.

He returned to her house on November 24 and hid in her basement, waiting for her to fall asleep. Instead, she went looking for her cat, which happened to be standing beside Williams in the basement. When Comeau found him, he beat her with a flashlight, bound her, and raped her. In the end, he suffocated her with duct tape and his hands. He also took pictures and video of the whole terrible night.

Williams’s second murder took place a few months later in January 2010. Williams broke into the house of Jessica Lloyd, age 27. As she slept, Williams struck her in the head and then bound and raped her over the next day and a half. Finally, he strangled her with a rope. He took her body and dumped it in a secluded nature area near her home.

A week after Lloyd went missing, Williams was stopped at a roadside checkpoint, and the police noticed that Williams’s tires were similar to the tracks left at Lloyd’s home. Three days later, he was asked to come to the police station, where he admitted to the murders. When investigating his home, they found two hard drives containing pictures and his detailed documentation of his criminal activities.

In October 2010, Williams pleaded guilty to 88 charges, including two first-degree murders. He was stripped of his commission, rank, and awards, and he was sentenced to two life terms in prison, though he’ll be eligible for parole after serving 25 years.

2 Bahsid McLean

Bashid McLean

Photo credit: New York Daily News

On February 26, 2013, a dog found a human leg wrapped in a garbage bag inside a duffel bag in a pile of trash in the Bronx. Police searched the neighborhood and found body parts in three other areas. They soon discovered that they were from the body of 45-year-old Tanya Byrd. Her 23-year-old son, Bahsid McLean, a troubled man with a criminal record, was arrested shortly after the murder. It’s believed that McLean stabbed his mother in the neck. He then dissected the body with a friend. After removing the head, McLean took a smiling selfie while holding his mother’s severed head.

McLean was charged with the murder, and his friend was charged with dismembering the body. When McLean was arraigned, he wore a garbage bag because he had urinated on his clothes. When asked if he was guilty, McLean said that he did nothing wrong. The case has yet to go to trial.

1 Dennis Rader

Dennis Rader

Photo credit: Murderpedia

One of the most terrifying and well-known US serial killers is Dennis Rader, who terrorized Wichita, Kansas, between 1974 and 1991 and claimed the lives of 11 men, women, and children. A big part of Rader’s murder ritual was tying up and torturing his victims, hence his self-adorned nickname, “Bind, Torture, Kill,” or simply “BTK.” In addition to tying up his victims, Rader also liked to practice bondage on himself.

After he was arrested, police found a stash of pictures of Rader dressed up in his victims’ clothes, sometimes wearing a mask. He would also tie himself up. In some of the pictures, Rader is tied up in his parents’ basement. In others, he’d strung himself up from a tree. Other times, he would be wrapped in a tarp and partially buried in a shallow grave.

Rader is currently serving 10 life sentences at the El Dorado Correctional Facility in Kansas.

Robert Grimminck is a Canadian freelance writer. You can friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or on Pinterest, or visit his website.

fact checked by Micah Duke