Once something is on the Internet, it’s there forever. This includes evidence of crimes in the making.
An Austin man, Blaine Alexander Mallon, was recently taken into custody after a concerned Internet user discovered an elaborate rape plan on Omegle. The chat website does not collect usernames or personal account information, making it easy for users to remain relatively anonymous. According to police and attorneys involved with the matter, Mallon contacted an anonymous user (referred to as Anon from here on) asking if Anon would help him rape someone that Mallon knew. The two chatted a bit before moving onto Kik, another chat website, to go over the plan in detail.
Mallon explained that he had figured out a time when the would-be victim would be at home alone. He sent Anon pictures of the woman, information about her car, her boyfriend’s work hours and her home address. The plan was for Anon to knock on the woman’s apartment door and force himself inside. He would blindfold and gag the victim and then let Mallon into the apartment. Mallon would then proceed with the crime without the victim being able to identify him. Anon, concerned that the plan was no fantasy, contacted his lawyer, who called the authorities.
Police were able to get a confession from Mallon after the victim discovered that Mallon loved owls – and the Kik account’s profile picture was of an owl.
Criminal Solicitation and Proving Intent
Criminal solicitation occurs when someone commands, encourages or requests another person to engage in specific conduct that would constitute a crime or an attempt at a crime. To prove a person has criminally solicited, the courts must be able to show specific intent. So, in the above example, if the defendant had said something like, “Hey, let’s go rape this person,” while in poor taste, would not necessarily be solicitation because it does not show specific intent. However, to share the potential victim’s picture, personal information and intimate details of her and her boyfriend’s schedule shows that much more thought had gone into the plan than a tasteless suggestion would imply. That makes a good argument for specific intent to go through with the crime.
It just goes to show – anything you post online can be used as evidence of intent. Even if you think you’re anonymous.