Witness Recalls Last Messages in MySpace Hoax Case

Megan's mother, Tina Meier, told jurors Wednesday that her daughter was taking medication for attention deficit disorder and depression, and that she struggled with low self-esteem. Concerned about her daughter's safety, Meier said she had Megan's father reverse the lock on her bedroom.

"I was nervous she would do something," said Meier, adding that Megan had previously tried to commit suicide.

Prosecutors contend that Drew suspected that Megan was spreading rumors about her daughter. They said Drew, her daughter and Grills set up a fake MySpace account in the name of Josh Evans, an attractive 16-year-old boy who was new in town, to spy on Megan.

They allegedly used the Josh Evans account to contact and befriend Megan. Within a few days, Drew encouraged her daughter and Grills to flirt with Megan and planned to lure the teenager to the mall to confront her with the hoax and taunt her, prosecutors said.

In October 2006, another neighborhood girl obtained the password to the Josh account and sent Megan a message saying that Josh no longer wanted to be her friend. The next day, an online argument escalated until Grills, posing as Josh, told Megan the world would be a better place without her in it, prosecutors said.

About 20 minutes later, Tina Meier found her daughter hanging from her belt in her bedroom closet. She died at the hospital the next day.

Grills said during an interview with "Good Morning America" she wrote that final message in an effort to end the online relationship with Josh because she felt the joke had gone too far.

Drew had previously denied involvement in the hoax, saying she didn't know about the mean messages being sent to Megan.

Her daughter, whose name is being withheld because of privacy concerns, has also not been charged.

'Not Like I Pulled the Trigger'

Prosecutors claim that after Drew learned what had happened, she told her daughter and Grills to delete the MySpace account and told the girl who said that Josh no longer wanted to be Megan's friend to "keep her mouth shut." At one point, after admitting she had told others to take down the MySpace page, Drew allegedly said, "It's not like I pulled the trigger," said prosecutors.

When Megan's parents learned of Drew's alleged involvement, they contacted the police and the FBI. Local and federal prosecutors in Missouri investigated but never charged Drew, concluding that no crime had been committed, according to court records. Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, where MySpace's computer servers are located, took the case to a grand jury, which indicted Drew in May.

Jury selection began Tuesday. Judge George Wu ruled last week that prosecutors could present evidence of Megan's suicide, though he reportedly said that he would tell the jury to focus on whether Drew violated the MySpace terms of service. The terms of service bar fraud, harassment or using information from MySpace to "harass, abuse or harm another person."

Some observers said that allowing prosecutors to present the evidence of Megan's suicide raises the possibility that the case, at least in the minds of jurors, will become more about the human drama of a teenage girl's death than about the legal issues involved.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Rachel Anne Hayes was arrested after police say she allegedly slapped a woman who denied her friend request.
Pinellas County Sheriffâ??s Office
3 Cheetah Cubs Hang Out at the Zoo
Petr David Josek/AP Photo
PHOTO: Emma Czornobaj appears at the Montreal Courthouse in Montreal in this June 3, 2014 file photo.
Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press/AP Photo