JEANNETTE (KDKA) — The Westmoreland County teen accused in his friend’s shooting death and then taking a selfie with the body was in court today for a hearing.
Maxwell Morton, 16, arrived in court Wednesday dressed in a suit and handcuffs. He is charged in the death of his friend and classmate at Jeanette High School, Ryan Mangan, also 16, back in February.
After listening to the evidence today in court, the judge ordered Morton to be held over for trial.
Mangan’s body was discovered in his family home, with a gunshot to the face. There was a 9mm shell casing nearby.
Later, the mother of another Jeannette High School student found a social media picture of Morton, the accused. It was a selfie, with Mangan’s body in the shot.
“He was taking a picture, looking down the barrel, and the gun went off,” said Pat Thomassey, the defense attorney. “That’s going to be the issue for the jury to decide, whether or not that’s malice, whether it was intentional or reckless conduct by two teenagers fooling around.”
Mangan’s family had no comment as they left the courtroom. Morton’s family also had little to say, only that they too believe the whole thing was an accident.
“It was an accident. That was his friend,” said one family member.
Morton remains behind bars.