“Suicide by definition is someone taking their own life, so you can’t be charged with that. You can be charged with aiding suicide — that’s not what happened here…We have other laws that we can change them with, and that’s where we are.”
For several months, Brandy Vela’s ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend created fake posts as Vela, advertising illegal acts.
Now a grand jury has charged them for these activities, which family believes led Vela to taker her life.
“I don’t have to prove a connection to her taking her own life to convict them of these two crimes, they only have to prove that someone made a fake Facebook page or whatever social media page this was or that the other person use her private images and put them out [to] the public.”
For 21-year-old Andres Villagomez, a Class A misdemeanor for the unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material. For 22-year-old Karinthya Sanchez, two third-degree felony charges for stalking and online impersonation.
“The Texas legislature specifically made it a felony to make fake Facebook or Instagram or other social media accounts. It’s someone else’s name.”
As to why putting out naked photos of Vela is considered a lesser crime than the fake social media account…
“A lot of times, you have those images voluntarily. I own those images, you gave them to me.”
As a lawyer, Tritico says this case is an important reminder for anyone facing harassment.
“We can only step up to the plate and protect someone if we know that it’s happening and so, the person on the receiving end of the bullying needs to say something.”