NYC Family Sues Facebook Over Image Of Daughter’s Corpse

Parents Of Caroline Wimmer Disgusted By Social Site's Immunity

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The outraged family of a local murder victim is taking on Facebook.

It was a paramedic who took the crime scene photos, and posted them on the site, but is Facebook, itself, to blame?

It’s a case of what the family is calling “disrespecting the dead,” reports CBS 2’s John Slattery.

Martha and Ronald Wimmer think that the photographing and posting of their daughter’s brutalized body is just more than they can stand.

“This is on the second anniversary of our daughter’s death. I just want to get by, day by day,” Martha Wimmer said.

Her daughter, 26-year-old Caroline Wimmer, was strangled with an electric cord. The convicted killer, Calvin Lawson, got 25 to life. One of the first on the scene, former emergency medical technician Mark Musarella, used his cell phone camera to snap a grisly photo of the corpse, which he then uploaded to Facebook. He pleaded guilty to official misconduct and lost his job.

A civil suit now names Musarella and Facebook.

“I found my daughter. I seen what she looked like. She was horrible. And I know that people at night are looking at it,” Ronald Wimmer said.

Because Facebook is a not-for-profit community bulletin board, it’s protected by a 1996 law, The Communications Decency Act, that gives the social networking giant immunity. The Wimmers’ attorney said what Facebook did was wrong.

“Just like a jewelry store cannot resell stolen property, neither can Facebook,” attorney Ravi Batra said.

The victim’s older sister was equally upset.

“Of the pictures on Facebook … for anyone to see, it kills me,” Christina Criscitiello said.

Later this week a bill is expected to be introduced in Albany that will attempt to reign in the broad immunity Facebook currently enjoys.

A spokesperson from Facebook said, “We haven’t been served or seen the complaint so we have no comment at this time.”

Do you think Facebook should be held liable? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from John Slattery
  • T. Tychy

    Facebook is a not-for-profit community bulletin board


  • valerie

    blame facebook? like blame the movies or musicians for kids gone wrong? someone is always looking for someone to blame.
    sad & disrespectful situation but the person who did it got their punishment. facebook didnt make him do it…

    • benzene265

      Who has more money? A random EMT or Facebook?

  • Todd

    I feel for the family over their horriable loss – BUT LETs Be serious here !!!!

    This just shows that some atty is looking for a PAY DAY !!!! Plain and Simple …
    FB is not liable here for ANYTHING !!

    As for “they should take it down – once they start to EDIT 1 thing / they need to edit EVERYTHING !!
    And who is to say – since some FB pages are locked – however they can and do become open if the owner wants – so now it’s FB job 2 edit private as well as open users material ?

    They should just make the “law” so that the person actually posting the stuff can be held liable – BUT – HELL NO !!!!! These lawmakers would never do that -! Why you ask ? They know where all the $$ is – and it’s NOT with the everyday JOE and their butt buddy lawyers wouldn’t get PAID that much – so they try to place liablity onto FB – where the big bank accounts are !!

    So in the end I feel horriable that the family and what ever other sicko that goes and looks for them but in NO WAY is FB responsiable for any of it !!!!!

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