PLEASANTON -- A Pleasanton man is now facing a murder charge for hitting and killing a bicyclist, partly because of his history of bragging on Twitter about driving dangerously, authorities said Thursday.
Cody Hall, 18, was originally charged with felony vehicular manslaughter in the death of 58-year-old Diana Hersevoort of Dublin. On Wednesday, he was arraigned on a murder charge and ordered held without bail.
Hall had previously boasted on Twitter of driving 140 mph on Interstate 5, retweeted "drive fast live young," and asked people who follow him on Twitter to "come on a death ride with me," according to Pleasanton Patch.
Hall was allegedly traveling at 83 mph -- more than double the speed limit -- on Foothill Road near Golden Eagle Way when he lost control and struck Hersevoort and her husband, who suffered a broken bone, authorities said. Foothill Road runs along residential neighborhoods.
Authorities said they considered Hall's Twitter feed, his driving history and his driving the day of the fatal crash when deciding to upgrade the charge to murder.
More commonly, murder charges have been filed in fatal crashes against suspects who recklessly flee police or an intoxicated driver who has prior DUI convictions, said Brian Welch, supervisor of the homicide unit at the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. Prosecutors must show "implied malice," meaning the defendant engaged in an intentional and unlawful act and did so with disregard for human life, to prove a murder charge, he said.
In this case, it appears the Twitter feed will serve as a "pre-offense statement" not unlike an email, text message or handwritten note, to bolster the prosecution's theory of implied malice, said Welch.
"The challenge in these situations is proving that your defendant is the person who posted the statement," he said.
An attorney for Hall could not be immediately reached Thursday.
David DeBolt covers breaking news. Contact him in Richmond at 510-262-2728. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.