Death Row Inmate Nikolaus Johnson Gets Facebook Profile Yanked

Death row inmate Nikolaus Johnson had someone operating a Facebook page for him.

ByABC News
March 12, 2010, 3:38 PM

March 15, 2010 — -- Death row inmate #421296 was looking for friends.

Convicted cop killer Nikolaus Johnson wasn't letting the iron bars at a maximum security prison stop him from making friends on the popular social networking site Facebook.

In fact, 31-year-old Johnson, who has yet to receive his execution date, had nearly 300 friends.

Johnson lost his friends late last week shortly after asked Facebook whether the company has rules against inmates having Facebook accounts.

"Being imprisoned and having a Facebook account isn't against our policies, but providing others with a password to access an account is a violation of our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which governs our relationship with users," Andrew Noyes, a public policy communications manager at Facebook, said in statement. "Since this individual does not have Internet access, someone else is maintaining the profile. Thus, the account was disabled."

Other inmates maintain Web sites online or pages on Facebook, which is actually different from having a profile on Facebook. Pages are permitted to be run by people other than the individual it features.

One of Johnson's fellow death row prisoners, Gaile Owens, has a page dedicated to her that is managed by her lawyers, who are asking for the public's support in getting her sentence commuted. Owens was convicted of hiring a man to kill her husband in 1985.

Owens has more than 500 fans on her Facebook page.

Until Facebook pulled the plug on his account, Johnson had appeared fairly active online.

On Feb. 18 he posted a message to his friends on his wall that read, "Love you all!!!" to which people identifying themselves as his cousins wrote back messages of support like "Stay strong!" while others promised to send him photographs to hang in his cell.

On Jan. 5, Johnson posted a message with his mailing address and earlier that same day, posted a message of thanks. "Just want to let you all know in my Facebook family…All your emails and comments are keeping me strong! Thank you!" he posted.