Family Stops City From Releasing ‘Death Porn’ Photos

LAKE STEVENS, Wash. (CN) — Parents of a girl who was murdered the day after her 15th birthday sued their hometown to stop it from releasing photos of their daughter’s partially clothed body to her killer’s family, fearing the photos could be used as “death porn.”

Molly Conley was murdered in a drive-by shooting by 26-year-old Erick Walker in 2013. Molly was walking down the street with friends when the bullet struck her in the neck, killing her within minutes.

Friends removed some of Conley’s clothing in attempting to save her life.

Walker has been sentenced to 90 years in prison.

Conley’s parents sued the City of Lake Stevens and Edris Walker, a member of the killer’s and the “requestor” of public records, on May 4 in Snohomish County Court. According to the complaint, Edris Walker requested nine photos of Molly’s partially clothed body, addresses of her living relatives and other information.

“These nine photographs are nine close-up photographs of Molly’s dead body after someone had removed some of her clothes attempting to save her life,” the complaint states.

“Plaintiffs object to the release of Molly’s body photos. A 15-year-old girl reasonably expects that if someone kills her, the government will not publicly release or disseminate close-up photographs of her partially clothed dead body.

“A mom and dad reasonably expect that if someone kills their 15-year-old daughter, close-up photographs of their daughter’s dead body will be kept private — not publicly disseminated by the government where they can be easily, and irreversibly, posted on the internet.”

The Conleys’ attorney Thomas Ahearne said in an interview that the court granted the family an injunction the day they filed the complaint.

The need was urgent, according to the complaint, as after Molly was killed “her dad was contacted by … a ‘death porn’ spreader, asking for photographs of his daughter’s murdered body.”

As if that were not bad enough, an online poster called the murder a “retribution killing,” because Molly was white and her killer black.

“One such ‘retribution killing’ purveyor posted a color version of Molly’s obituary photo alongside a photo-shopped picture of her killer wearing a gold crown, with the following caption in all caps: ‘GUILTY DEVIL HELD ACCOUNTABLE! THE MOLLY CONLEY DIVINE RACIAL KARMA KILLING!’” according to the complaint. That internet post blamed Molly for “her part” in an 1889 lynching.

Attorney said in the interview that he hopes this aspect of the case is over.

“There are people out there who want to use this kind of information but we are hoping this is a one-time thing,” he said.

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