Two Years Ago, A Teen Shot His Friend In Cold Blood, Then Took A Selfie With The Bloody Body. Now He Thinks Prison Is Too Hard To Handle.
A Pennsylvania teen who was accused of murdering his friend and taking a selfie next to his dead body is now appealing his conviction.
According to PEOPLE, 19-year-old Maxwell Morton was tried as an adult and convicted in February of third-degree murder in the horrific shooting death of Ryan Mangan.
Both Morton and Mangan were just 16 when Mangan was fatally shot in his own bedroom by Morton in 2015.
Although Morton quickly fled the scene with his gun, he made sure to take a smiling selfie next to Mangan’s dead body, which was slumped over and covered in blood, first.
At Morton’s trial, medical experts argued that Mangan may not have died right away from the gunshot wound and might have survived had Morton actually sought help immediately after the shooting.
When Mangan’s mother returned home from work, she discovered her son’s bloodied body in his bedroom.
Back in May, Morton was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison on third-degree murder charges, though prosecutors had initially hoped to see him convicted of first-degree murder in Mangan’s death.
Morton’s defense attorney, Patrick Thomassey, revealed earlier this year that his client would absolutely be appealing his conviction.
Since February 2015, Morton has always maintained that the shooting was a tragic accident, the result of two teenagers toying around with a dangerous gun.
After allegedly shooting Mangan by accident, Morton took a selfie with his friend’s dead body and shared the photo on Snapchat.
According to reports, the mother of a boy in Ohio saw the photo and immediately reported it to police, which led investigators straight to Morton.
The chilling photo in question was used by prosecutors in court to knock down Morton’s version of events.
"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 before he was arrested.
When describing Morton’s actions, Thomassey insisted that his client was just a scared teen, who fled the scene in a desperate attempt not to get in trouble.
“In my heart of hearts, I don’t think Max intended to take a life,” Thomassey told PEOPLE in February. “They were playing a silly game.”
“I panicked. … I wanted to tell somebody, but at that time I felt empty and had no regards for life. I had no reason to be,” Morton echoed in court.
According to court officials, both Thomassey and prosecutors have sought to have Morton’s case reviewed for very different reasons.
On one hand, Thomassey believes Morton’s sentence is too harsh for the teen, but on the other, prosecutors say 15 to 30 years behind bars is not enough after what Morton did to his friend.
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