Legal expert say gunman’s social media would be key evidence

Authorities block Virginia State Route 122 at Bridgewater Plaza, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va., after two journalists were fatally shot while broadcasting live from the plaza earlier in the day. (Stephanie Klein-Davis/The Roanoke Times via AP)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Southwestern Virginia police are confident in who was the shooter who killed two WDBJ employees, journalist Alison Parker, 24 and photojournalist Adam Ward, 27.

The shooter, they say, is Vester Lee Flanagan, a fired co-worker. Flanagan died Wednesday afternoon of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Legal experts say the 41-year-old left behind plenty of incriminating evidence via social media.

Officials say during the shooting, Flanagan recorded himself on what seems to be a go-Pro Camera or on his phone.

In that video, which 2 NEWS has chosen not to broadcast, you can see someone pointing the gun at the news team and the woman they were interviewing. Later that video was posted onto what appears to be Flanagan’s social media site, a Twitter handle named Bryce_Williams7. Flanagan used the name Bryce Williams on-air while working as a journalist.

Flanagan also went on to describe a possible motive on his thread.

2 NEWS spoke with Dayton Defense Attorney Jon Paul Rion about whether all of his posts could have been considered as evidence. Rion says yes and that’s because those sites are public domains.

And so any person who commits a crime and uses social media to display their acts would be facing serious charges.

“In this case, it could have been a possible death penalty case so it could have been the difference between 15 to 20 years in prison to a death sentence,” Rion said. “And that an enormous deference, which the mitigation evidence probably would have been the only evidence relevant to this case.”

The defense lawyer also says because of the clear evidence in this circumstance, the case would have gone from trying to prove what happened to a case trying to explain why and how it happened.

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