Teen Gets 30 Years for Murder Posted on Facebook

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on September 16, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A teenager has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the grisly murder of a disabled Chicago man -- a beating that was caught on cell phone video and posted on Facebook.

Anthony Malcolm, 19, recorded and uploaded to Facebook the beating death of Delfino Mora, 62, who was in an alley collecting cans. Malcolm and two friends targeted the disabled father of 12 in a game they called "Pick 'em out, knock 'em out," Chicago's WGN-TV reports.

Malcolm's parents didn't think the teen should go to prison just for holding a cell phone. Are they right?

Accessory Before/After the Fact

While Malcolm had the camera rolling, Malik Jones, now 17, cracked Mora's head on the pavement and stole $60 from his wallet. In the video, the three teens -- Jones, Malcolm and Nicholas Ayala, now 18 -- walk away laughing.

In legal terms, a person who intentionally helps someone (the "principal") commit a crime is called an accomplice.

An accomplice who helps the principal before the crime is committed can be called an accessory before the fact. Generally, an accessory after the fact is someone who attempts to either conceal the crime or protect the criminal from law enforcement.

In this case, Judge Joseph Claps said Malcolm was an accessory when he videotaped the attack and never reported it to authorities, reports the Chicago Tribune.

While Malcolm's "mere presence" at the attack did not make him guilty, his knowledge that an attack was planned, the fact that he did nothing to stop it and his failure to contact authorities made him an accessory to the murder.

Accomplice Liability

An accomplice generally does not have to commit the crime itself, but can still face the same penalties as the principal if convicted. This is the case under both federal law and Illinois law.

For that reason, Malcolm was convicted of first-degree murder and robbery for his role in the attack, even though Jones was the one who physically carried out the murder and robbery. Malcolm was sentenced to 22 years for murder and eight more for robbery, reports The Tribune.

Though the punishment may seem harsh, as Judge Claps said, "There must be a deterrent for people who choose violence for some past-time."

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