Maxwell Morton was sixteen years old when he would shoot his friend and then take a selfie. According to court documents Maxwell Morton told police that he asked his friend Ryan Mangan to take a photo of him holding a gun, then the gun accidentally went off striking Ryan. Now instead of calling 911 like a normal person Maxwell Morton would take a selfie with the body and sending it online. This teen killer would be convicted of third degree murder and sentenced to thirty years in prison in Pennsylvania
Maxwell Morton 2021 Information
Date of Birth: 05/21/1998
Height: 5′ 05″
Current Location: PINE GROVE
Permanent Location: PINE GROVE
Committing County: WESTMORELAND
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A selfie that shows Maxwell Morton smiling in front of the body of his friend, Ryan Mangan, was released into evidence at the young man’s murder trial Tuesday in Westmoreland County Court.
Morton, 18, of Jeannette, is accused of fatally shooting Mangan, 16, as they played video games on Feb. 4, 2015. The question of whether Morton intended to pull the trigger was addressed in opening statements Tuesday.
District Attorney John Peck argued that the shooting was premeditated. He said Morton’s actions and statements to police afterward proved that, while also showing a lack of remorse.
Defense attorney Pat Thomassey disagreed, saying the shooting was an accident and Mangan was Morton’s friend.
The mother of a boy in Wisconsin reported the selfie after it was sent to her son. That led police to Morton’s house, where he told police a little about what happened and where the gun was.
Morton originally told police that he and Mangan were playing with the weapon, and he wanted to take a picture looking down the barrel and he shot Mangan.
“He had a little smirk on his face and said, ‘I didn’t really care either,’” said Westmoreland County Detective James Williams, who interviewed Morton in the presence of his parents after the search and before Morton was arrested.
The conversation to which Williams testified was not recorded, and according to his police report, Morton originally said the shooting was an accident.
Testimony will continue Wednesday morning before Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio.
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An 18-year-old man who shot his 16-year-old friend two years ago while they played video games, then took a selfie of himself next to the victim, was found guilty Thursday of third-degree murder by a Westmoreland County jury.
“It was a difficult case because of what he did afterwards, in terms of the selfie and all of the other stuff,” said Maxwell Morton’s defense attorney, Pat Thomassey. “I give the jury credit. I think they came to a reasonable conclusion based upon all of the evidence they saw.”
Morton, of Jeannette, testified that he and Ryan Mangan had no issues between them, and he was having fun visiting Mangan’s home that day in February 2015.
Morton said the two were pretending to be rappers and imitating what they do in music videos when he saw a lump in a pillowcase, and Mangan pulled out a handgun. Morton testified that Mangan was waving the weapon around and pointed it at him, and Morton then wanted to handle the gun.
Morton told the jury that the clip was out of the firearm, and he didn’t think the weapon was loaded when he pointed it at Mangan and pulled the trigger. The gun fired once, hitting Mangan in the face, but Morton said he did not call 911, nor did he call his parents or ask neighbors for help, because he was afraid to tell anyone what happened.
Morton took a selfie of himself smiling next to Mangan and sent it via Snapchat to a teenager in another state. The teen’s parent reported the photo, and Jeannette police were notified of the shooting. The picture was introduced as evidence in the trial.
Dr. Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist, testified that Mangan could have survived the shooting if he had received medical care. Instead, authorities said Morton posed for a selfie with his dying friend and then fled the house without seeking aid.
Morton was returned to the county prison after the verdict to await his sentencing date.
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Frequently Asked Questions
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Maxwell Morton is currently incarcerated at the Pine Grove Facility in Pennsylvania
- Maxwell Morton Release Date
Maxwell Morton release date is 2047 however he is eligible for parole in 2032
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A Jeannette teen will serve at least 15 years in prison for shooting his best friend in the face, a crime he memorialized by taking a “selfie” with the victim’s body.
Maxwell Morton, who turns 19 this week, told a Westmoreland County judge Monday that he did not want to be remembered as a “savage” and conceded that the Feb. 4, 2015, shooting of 16-year-old Ryan Mangan in the bedroom of his Jeannette home was “messed up.”
“Sometimes sorry isn’t enough for people, but that’s all I have to give,” Morton said.
Common Pleas Court Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio sentenced Morton to serve 15 to 30 years in prison. A jury in February found him guilty of third-degree murder.
Prosecutors had charged Maxwell Morton with first-degree homicide, contending he intended to shoot Mangan as the teens fooled around with a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun Mangan kept in his bedroom.
The judge noted Morton’s age and suggested that using his cellphone to take a photograph of himself smiling with Mangan’s body — he was slumped over a chair in the background with a bullet hole under his left eye — rather than call for help substantially altered the case.
“You look like a little boy to me, and now I am faced with sentencing you,” Bilik-DeFazio said. “The reality is this case would be very different but not for that photograph. No one will understand the thought process of taking that photo.”
It was the selfie that police used to link Maxwell Morton to the murder. Police said Morton took the gun and ran from Mangan’s home after the shooting and, later that night, bragged about it to a teen in Wisconsin via a video game system.
As proof of the murder, Maxwell Morton sent the teen the photograph of himself with the body through the social media app Snapchat. The teen preserved the photo and told his mother, who alerted the police.
Assistant District Attorney Tom Grace argued that Morton should receive a maximum sentence of up to 40 years. Grace said Morton has two prior convictions for assault as a juvenile and another violent incident that occurred after he was jailed for Mangan’s shooting.
But Grace said it was the selfie the judge should focus on in determining the sentence.
“When I saw this photograph with the victim lying dead and slumped on a chair and the defendant smiling ear-to-ear, that speaks volumes about his character,” Grace said.
Defense attorney Pat Thomassey argued at trial that the shooting was an accident and that neither teen had malice toward the other. On Monday, Thomassey told the judge that Mangan and his parents were partially at fault for the murder. It was Mangan’s gun — one of several he had possession of — and his parent’s failure to know about the weapons that led to the shooting, Thomassey said.
“There is a lot of blame to go around in this case. I would know if there were guns in my house, and these parents didn’t know,” Thomassey said. “What this is is two kids fooling around with guns. If Maxwell didn’t panic and didn’t do the stupid things he did, called 911, he probably doesn’t even get charged.”
The teens were classmates in the Jeannette school district. At the time of the shooting, they attended Agape, a day treatment center and alternative school for troubled youth.
Mangan’s parents told the judge they were devastated by their son’s death and said they will be unable to forgive Morton for the killing.
“I have no sympathy for the devil that took my son’s life away from me. I hope he … burns in hell for eternity,” said George Mangan, the victim’s father.
Morton’s parents described their son as a young man who has struggled with racism but had dreams to attend college.
“This is just tragic,” said his mother, Honey Morton. “These two lives were just destroyed.”