TechWeb

MySpace Suicide Jurors Near Verdict

Nov 26, 2008 (07:11 AM EST)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212200720


A jury is close to a decision in the case against a mother accused of using MySpace to taunt a teen before the teen killed herself.

Lori Drew, 49, has pleaded not guilty to three counts alleging she violated MySpace's terms of use and created a fake profile pretending to be a 16-year-old boy who just moved to town and had a crush on 13-year-old Megan Meier.

Prosecutors said that Drew and others used the profile to try to flesh out rumors they believed Meier had spread about Drew's daughter. Once Meier believed that "Josh Evans" had a crush on her, Drew's assistant, Ashley Grills, sent a message from "Josh" saying that the world would be a better place without Meier. The message drove Meier to tears and she hanged herself shortly after receiving it.

Drew is the only person charged in the case. In addition to counts for unauthorized access to computers, she faces a conspiracy charge. Grills received immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying.

Jurors sent a note to the judge in Los Angeles Tuesday and indicated that they had reached verdicts on three of the four counts, according to reports from The Associated Press and Wired. The judge ordered the jury to try to reach agreement on the fourth count, according to the reports.

Drew's lawyer argued that Drew did not read the terms and conditions when the group set up the account and that the charges should be dismissed. The judge has not made a decision on the dismissal.

The unprecedented case was heard in Los Angeles because that is where MySpace's servers are located. The Drews and Meiers live just outside of Kansas City in Missouri.