Pa. judge OKs felony charges over Facebook posts

AP News
|
Posted: Aug 15, 2011 6:57 PM
Pa. judge OKs felony charges over Facebook posts

A judge has upheld felony charges against a woman accused of using Facebook to try to find someone to kill her baby's father and against a teenager accused of offering to do the job for $1,000.

A defense lawyer argued that 20-year-old London Eley, of Philadelphia, was only venting when she posted the online message after an argument with her baby's father. Police say 18-year-old Timothy Bynum, of suburban Darby, accepted the offer and asked for details about the target.

"I will pay somebody a stack to kill my baby father," Eley wrote in a post this spring, according to a police affidavit.

"Say no more ... what he look like ... where he be at ... need that stack 1st," Bynum wrote back, police say.

Eley exchanged messages with Bynum for about an hour but never met him or took any other steps to carry out the plan, according to her lawyer, Gerald Stein.

A city judge on Monday approved a murder solicitation charge and a weapons charge _ with the computer being considered the weapon _ against Eley and approved murder conspiracy and weapons charges against Bynum. Police say they found several weapons in Bynum's home, although Stein said he believes one was lawfully licensed to a parent and another was a BB gun.

The Philadelphia Daily News first reported on the judge's rulings, which Stein confirmed.

Both defendants remained in custody Monday, with bail reduced from $50,000 to $35,000 for Eley and from $75,000 to $50,000 for Bynum. They are due back in court for arraignment on Sept. 6.

The hit wasn't carried out, and the baby's father wasn't harmed. His family apparently learned of the posts and contacted police, who arrested Eley and Bynum in June.

Stein said Eley simply had been venting online "over an argument that she had with the boyfriend."

"And then, after an hour, she calmed down. End of story," Stein said. "Well, when you do it on a computer, you are putting it out there for the whole world to see and memorializing it. Unfortunately, it sort of magnifies the anger."

However, a prosecutor said Eley was asked online if she was joking about the hit and insisted she wasn't.

"It is a unique case," Assistant District Attorney Jack O'Neil said. "I think the judge made the right decision, and we're going forward from here."

Bynum's lawyer, Lopez Thompson, did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment on Monday.