Monday, March 14, 2011

Your Last "Tweet" : What will it reveal about You?

Left: Shanterrica Madden is accused with stabbing to death (Right) Tina Stewart
This past weekend, Memorial services were held for slain Middle Tennesee State University, basketball star, Tina Stewart.  Also this weekend, her accused killer, Shanterrica Madden was released on a $100,000 bond.  Tons of rumours swarmed social sites about what happened the night of the incident.  An incident of this magnitude, in this town, on this campus, has surely shocked the nation and left many unanswered questions.  As Madden made her first court appearance some details have been confirmed.

What would cause a freshman student to stab another student athlete to the point of death?  Was there a heated argument?  Have they had problems before?  Was it an accident?  Was it self defense?

Even if your page is private, people with
public pages may Retweet what
you say!

Well, details have revealed that Madden's attorney is claiming self defense in the murder of Stewart.  This entire claim may rely heavily on the use of the social site, Twitter.  During the court hearing, Stewart's attorney, Joe Brandon Jr., requested that information found on twitter be "Preserved".  This means that the defense attorney, Brandon Jr., wants to make sure that posts made on twitter by the parties, or any other evidence for that matter, which could easily be subject to "corruption, destruction, or contamination" be obtained and preserved in its original condition to be used as evidence during the trial.

Apparently, friends have confirmed Stewart's twitter page which contained a tweet stating "I just called the police on my roommate.  I feel like a snitch, but I cant stand that B@#%!".  Responses to that tweet, such as "Don't Hurt her", have also been noted.  If you review Madden's twitter page, most of her last tweets were centered around school work.

This incident is very unfortunate.  Definitely, more details will be revealed during the trial.  I hate the families and friends on both ends have to re- live the entire ordeal.  We don't know what happened on that night, but how much of an influence do you think Stewart's last tweets should have in the trial?  Unfortunately, the entire trial may center around it.  Check out a past post where a a young man was acquitted of the murder of a rapper, based on past incidents between the parties and a self defense claim HERE

Just be careful what you tweet.  You never know what your last tweet will be.  R.I.P. Tina Stewart

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With high profile cases like these, rumours swirl out of control before the story even hits the news.  I recall all the rumours that surrounded the murder trial of Rapper, Dollar, (view here) and how so many people were upset with the outcome of the case (not guilty).  They did not understand how someone could be found innocent for such a crime, when in reality most of the details they heard about the murder were untrue (or proven otherwise in court).  With that said, lets clear up some details that have been revealed in the Madden case, regarding the night of the incident. 
On Thursday March 24, 2010, a preliminary hearing was held for accused murderer, Shanterrica Madden.  A Judge decided to bound the case over to a grand jury, who will then decide on May 16, if there is enough evidence to charge Madden with first degree murder.  Evidence submitted during the hearing clarified that:
1. Stewart was stabbed ONE time (not multiple stab wounds)
2. Wounds to the back of Stewart's head, left shoulder, and left elbow
suggest there may have been multiple ATTEMPTS to stab more than once
3. Fatal stab wound was below collarbone in the center of the chest
4. Madden's statement suggest that she held knife to her chest as Stewart came towards her
5. Defense suggest fatal stab wound is inconsistent with Madden's story


Update #2 April 11, 2011 - Parents of Tina Stewart sue accused murderer Shanterrica Madden for $20million.
The suit is a civil case, for "wrongful death".  You may recall in the O.J. Simpson case, he was not convicted of murder in his criminal case, but he was found liable in a civil case filed by the parents of the victims.   The same scenario is playing out in this case.  Stewart's family is aware they may never see $20 million from Madden, however they are filing the civil suit in hopes that Madden will not profit by selling her story to any media outlets.
The burden of proof is lower in a civil case vs. a criminal case.  In a criminal case the defendant should be found guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt", meaning without a doubt in your mind, the defendant is guilty.  In a civil case the plaintiff has the burden of proving "a preponderance of the evidence", meaning "more likely than not", the defendant is guilty based on the evidence presented.

Update #3 May 14, 2012 - Shanterrica Madden was convicted of 2nd degree murder
Although, the Prosecution tried to convict on 1st degree murder.  Shanterrica was found guilty of 2nd degree murder.  The difference between 1st degree and 2nd degree murder is intent.  In order to be convicted for 1st degree murder, the prosecution had to prove that Shanterrica premeditated (planned, prepared, setup) the murder of Tina Stewart.  The prosecution was unsuccessful in determined that the murder was premeditated.  However, they were successful in proving that the intent at the time the incident occurred, was to murder.  She faces 15 to 25 years in prison, plus 3 to 6 years for throwing the murder weapon in the dumpster.  Sentencing will be held on July 16th.

Update #4 July 17, 2012 Shanterrica Madden was sentenced to 29 years in prison for the 2nd degree murder of MTSU basketball player, Tina Stewart.  This sentence includes the maximum 25 year sentence for 2nd degree murder, and an additional four years for tampering with evidence.  Madden will be eligible for parole when she turns 46 years old.  She is currently 20 years old.  Although Madden is a first time offender, the judge did not believe Madden was sincerely sorry for her crime.  She apologized during her trial and via a letter during her sentencing.  Two young lives ... GONE.