Internet photo album pictures of Lillian Rose Entwistle have a far broader audience than the friends and family for whom they were intended, after she and her mother were slain and her father charged with killing them, reports the Associated Press. AP says the warm images helped catapult the Hopkinton, Ma., murder from cable news onto the cover of People magazine and newspapers in Neil Entwistle’s native Britain. As Web diaries and personal home pages proliferate, the likelihood that the victim or suspect of a high-profile crime had a life online is increasing. Blogs and photos can speak for the dead and hint at the motivation of killers when violence thrusts ordinary people into the spotlight.
“People share their intimate thoughts, writing and rambling,” said Lisa Bloom, an anchor for Court TV. “You are really looking inside their heads.” Jacob Robida, who was being sought in a hatchet-and-gun attack at a New Bedford, Ma., gay bar when he killed a police officer, a companion, and himself in Arkansas, left behind a Web site decorated with swastikas, bloodied axes and obscenities. “Back in the old days, one of the first things we looked for in some cases was a diary,” said Andy Spruill, a police officer in Orange County, Ca., who works at Guidance Software, a cyberforensics firm. “Now that diary just happens to be online, and everybody can see it.” Coeur d’Alene, Id., authorities will review Joseph Duncan’s blog, “The Fifth Nail,” for possible evidence in the convicted child molester’s murder trial.