In Depth

Selfie held vital clue in murder case

Weapon used in killing was hidden in a Facebook photo of two friends whose row turned deadly

At first glance, the photo of Cheyenne Rose Antoine and Brittney Gargol appears to be a selfie no different from the millions uploaded to social media every day.

The two young women, described by the Toronto Sun as “inseparable” friends, smile as they stand side-by-side for the close-up shot. Hours later, Gargol was dead by Antoine’s hand.

On 24 March 2015, Antoine, then 19, and 18-year-old Gargol went to a house party in Saskatoon, western Canada.

Early the next morning, a passerby discovered Gargol’s body on a roadside on the outskirts of town. She had been strangled with a belt, which had been discarded at the scene of the crime.

In the hours following Gargol’s murder, Antoine played the part of the concerned friend on social media. “Where are you? Haven't heard from you. Hope you made it home safe,” she wrote in a message posted to Gargol’s Facebook page, the BBC reports.

However, detectives trawling the pair’s social media posts spotted the selfie taken hours before the murder, which showed Antoine wearing an identical belt to the one used to strangle her friend.

When questioned by police, Antoine initially told officers that she and Gargol had gone their separate ways after visiting a bar, when Gargol went home with an unknown man.

However, police later received a tip-off from a friend of Antoine’s who said she had confessed to hitting and strangling Gargol as the pair rowed after leaving the party, CBC reports.

Antoine, now 21, was initially charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter in a Saskatoon courtroom on 15 January 2018.

Her defence team told the court that Antoine and Gargol were drunk and high on marijuana when the argument broke out and that Antoine cannot remember killing her friend, although she accepts that she was responsible. She was sentenced to seven years in prison.

"I will never forgive myself,” Antoine said in a statement. “Nothing I say or do will ever bring her back. I am very, very sorry...It shouldn't have ever happened.”

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