Jeannette 16-year-old faces murder charge in teen's shooting death
February 7, 2015 10:13 PM
Students gather at a vigil at the Seneca Club in Jeannette last week in remembrance of Ryan Mangan.
Friends of Ryan Mangan, wearing T shirts made in his honor, gathered at a vigil at the Seneca Club in Jeannette.
By Jill Daly / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Although officials have not described a motive in the shooting death of a Jeannette teen Wednesday, the young man charged with murder in the case is said by police to have paused to take a phone camera self-portrait of himself and the victim after the shooting and sent it to another young man.
Maxwell Marion Morton, 16, of Jeannette was charged with murder Friday night in the death of Ryan Mangan, 16, also of Jeannette. Westmoreland County detectives and Jeannette police charged Maxwell with criminal homicide, first-degree murder and illegally possessing a 9 mm handgun. He was arraigned before District Judge Joseph R. DeMarchis of Jeannette, was denied bail and is being held in the county jail. A preliminary hearing is set before before Mr. DeMarchis Feb. 19.
Ryan died of a single gunshot wound, according to the Westmoreland County coroner's office. He was found in his home about 6 p.m. Wednesday, and an autopsy was performed by forensic pathologist and former Allegheny County coroner Cyril Wecht on Thursday.
The investigating officers’ affidavit outlines what they believe happened:
Rebecca Murtland, Ryan’s mother, first contacted police at about 6 p.m. Wednesday saying she had found her son dead, with a gunshot wound in the face. A detective found a 9 mm shell casing at the scene, but no gun. Also found on the victim’s phone was a photo of himself holding a semiautomatic handgun, police said.
On Thursday, a woman told police her son had a copy of a Snapchat photo sent from the accused. Jeannette Sgt. Donald Johnston saw the photo, depicting the wounded victim in the chair as found by his mother. It also depicted a young man taking a “selfie” with the victim in the background. The photo had the name “MAXWELL” across the top and the young man was identified by Sgt. Johnston as Maxwell Morton.
The woman also said her son received messages from Maxwell, stating, “Told you I cleaned up the shells” and “Ryan was not the last one.” The investigating officers said the photo depicts the victim as he was found at the crime scene.
After a search warrant was served at Morton’s home, a 9 mm handgun was found in the basement under the steps. Police said after being advised of his rights with his parents present, the young man confessed to using that gun to shoot Ryan Mangan, “leaving the victim dead in his room.”