A Facebook selfie proved instrumental in the conviction of a 21-year-old woman for the manslaughter of her best friend.
On Monday Cheyenne Rose Antoine was jailed for seven years after admitting to killing Brittney Gargol, 18.
In March 2015, Gargol was found fatally injured on a road near landfill in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with a distinctive belt lying close by. She had been strangled.
A selfie posted on Facebook hours before Gargol’s body was found showed the smiling friends and crucially Antoine wearing the same belt. In an attempted diversion Antoine posted again on Facebook, asking Gargol if she had got home safely.
Having noted the belt, police used a series of social media posts to chart a timeline for the women’s movements on the night of Gargol’s death. Antoine told detectives the pair had visited several bars together before her friend left with an unknown man.
But her story began to fall apart when police checked CCTV and found the women hadn’t visited one of the places as she had claimed. A series of tips later led police to a witness who said Antoine had admitted arguing with Gargol and choking her. Another said the suspect had visited him at home, “hysterical” about the death. An attempted alibi by Antoine in the form of her uncle also fell flat.
In court, Antoine issued a statement via her lawyer Lisa Watson.
In comments reported by CTV News, she said: “I’ll never forgive myself. Northing I say or do will ever bring her back. I’m really, really sorry. It’s wrong and shouldn’t have happened.”
As part of her plea, Antoine, who was originally charged with second degree murder, accepted responsibility for Gargol’s death, but said she did not remember killing her, claiming the pair were drunk and high on marijuana when they got into a heated argument.
Watson told the court Antoine had grown up in foster care and had been mentally, physically and sexually abused.
Speaking to the press outside court, she said: “I think that the word motive doesn’t have much relevance in this particular case. This is just a tragic situation where drug and alcohol use exploded. My client had some very deep-seeded personal issues that she was not dealing with and unfortunately, for whatever reason, we’ll never know, they turned into a very tragic situation for all involved.”