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Student Googles Himself, Finds He's Accused of Murder 184

University of Florida student Zachary Garcia was more than a little surprised to find out he was wanted for murder after Googling his name. It turns out the police were looking for a different man but had mistakenly used Garcia's photo. From the article: "Investigators originally released a driver's license photo of Zachary Garcia — spelled with an 'A' — but it was Zachery Garcia — spelled with an 'E'— who was charged in connection with the crime."

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Student Googles Himself, Finds He's Accused of Murder

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  • by theY4Kman ( 1519023 ) <they4kman@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @03:38PM (#34393086) Homepage

    We were looking for Hitler.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Have you seen my friend Kyle? He's about this tall...

    • by WitnessForTheOffense ( 1669778 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @03:58PM (#34393430)
      "It's not my fault that Buttle's heart condition didn't appear on Tuttle's file!"
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        LOL. Awesome quote from Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985). Nice to see another fan.

        He is usually known for:
        - Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
        - Life of Brian (1979)
        - The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

        All cult classics.

    • It's Mr. Hilter [youtube.com] to you
  • slashdotters are googling themselves right now.
  • He will have a hard time getting a job now.

    • by aitikin ( 909209 )
      Time for a lawsuit and a name change.
    • I'd be thinking about a lawsuit if they didn't remove all photos of me related to the murder.
    • by Xugumad ( 39311 )
      Hopefully the brain dead idiocy that first name & last name is a unique identifier will die sooner or later. In the meantime, he would probably be well advised to do what those of us who do not Google well do, and make some mention of it in a covering letter. Admittedly, "I'm not a murderer" is probably a little weirder than "I'm not in a band, that's the other <first name> <last name>, nor do I have a PhD in Biology"...

      • Not only is your name not a unique identifier, but if you spell it wrong, you aren't even close when doing a data search.
        • by ryanov ( 193048 )

          Someone at my university wrote something and included Soundex searches. It is really dead on for finding the right spelling of the name with a misspelled name.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sumdumass ( 711423 )

      Getting a job? Hell this explains why he couldn't get a date over the last couple of years. Didn't you know that women google you now before going on dates to see if you are some looser or something embarrassing might pop up and shame them in front of their girlfriends?

      I had one girl shoot me down because she could fine 20 to 30 others with the same name as mine but not me on a google search. She claimed I was using an alias.

    • by jimicus ( 737525 )

      I'd say he'll probably have an easier time than if he hadn't found this.

      A week from now, the first hit on Google for his name will be this story. Amusing, and must have given him the shock of his life, but won't seriously concern anyone.

      Last week, they'd have seen the same thing as Garcia.

  • Has anyone ever told you that you overplay your various roles rather severely, Mr. Garcia?
  • Next item on "The Rundown" is "Naked Ladies"... I'd rather watch that story.

  • I googled myself the other day and found out I was murdered!

    • Re:That's nothing! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by panda ( 10044 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @03:58PM (#34393436) Homepage Journal

      You laugh, but a man, with the same first and last name as I, was murdered in Jamaica several years ago in a rather brutal fashion: he was decapitated with a machete. He was leading a ring of phone scammers and some of the other members of the ring had a disagreement over the money.

      Another man with the same first and last name is serving a prison sentence for weapons charges.

      Another man with the same first and last name is a doctor.

      Another is a low-budget file directory.

      I could go on.

      Its fun having a common name.

      No, I didn't google myself as a result of this story. I do from time to time when bored with nothing else to do. If you google my name now, you don't get the murder story until very far into the results, but it was among the top results when it happened four or five years ago.

  • by nege ( 263655 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @03:52PM (#34393338) Journal

    Am I the only one that noticed "NAKED LADIES" on the news bar to the right of the screen at the start of video? I have the whole internet at my fingertips and I'm thinking "BUT WHAT ABOUT THE NAKED LADIES???"

  • Stories like this make me glad I have a fairly common name that is shared with multiple famous people, including a former NFL player, a dead rapper and a famous architect.

  • Really sounds like some crappy odds... The guy's name is one letter different and the birth dates are one year apart. This really does appear to be an honest mistake. The two pictures even looked a lot a like. It sounds like he did the right thing and contacted the police and cleared his "name" spelled with an "a" not and "e". I'm sure this isn't the first time something like this has happened but in this case I can see how it did happen.
    • by rhizome ( 115711 )

      The two pictures even looked a lot a like.

      You know we pay people a lot of money to be good at this kind of thing, right? I'm not so sure I'd want to let them off the hook so easily.

  • by zuki ( 845560 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @04:00PM (#34393476) Journal
    Inbefore the obligatory quote from Terry Gilliam's prophetic movie masterpiece Brazil [imdb.com] with the mistake between 'Buttle' and 'Tuttle', and the ensuing pandemonium.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dkleinsc ( 563838 )

      As stated clearly in Internet Posting Control Commission policy 57Q paragraph 14 subsection xli, in order to claim 'Inbefore' status, you must fill out forms 27B-6, ID10-T, and P3B-C4K in triplicate, and get approvals from the Comment Working Group 2 weeks before you make the comment. Any questions or concerns about this policy should be directed to the Complaints Reporting SubCommittee of the IPCC on the third Thursday of the month.

  • by Jailbrekr ( 73837 ) <jailbrekr@digitaladdiction.net> on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @04:41PM (#34394334) Homepage

    The real travesty is not that law enforcement mixed him up with another kid, its that the kid is charged with felony murder because the homeowner of the house he was robbing shot at and killed one of his friends. While I cannot necessarily condemn the homeowner for his act, to charge the three surviving robbers with murder is ludicrous. One teenager paid the highest possible price for his foolish act, and now the criminal justice system is going to destroy three other lives? what the hell Florida? If I jaywalk with three other people and a motor runs over one of us, are the rest of us guilty of vehicular manslaughter?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      That's the brilliant genius of the felony murder law.

      If someone dies while you're commiting a felony - even if you didn't pull the trigger - you're liable for felony murder.

      In this case, I suppose the justification is that if the kids never tried to rob the house their companion never would have died and thus they are guilty of felony murder as a result. Honestly though I think the whole law is too broad and overreaching. There shouldn't be such harsh penalties for an indirect responsibility.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        I could understand the charge if an innocent party is killed, but not when one of the felons is killed.

    • by Tanman ( 90298 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @09:05PM (#34398046)

      This is a basic tenant in all courts in America: If you initiate a crime, you are charged with ALL consequences that take place as a result of your crime.

      Basically, it works like this:

      If you do crime A which has results B and C, you will be charged with all results. If you commit burglary, and someone dies as a result of your burglary, it is your fault. And frankly, that's the way it should be.

      • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )
        So if I jaywalk, someone else slows his car down a bit, and a Butterfly Effect [wikipedia.org] ensues that causes a civil war in Sierra Leone, I can be charged with war crimes?
  • Felony murder law (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zatar ( 131299 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @04:45PM (#34394432)

    On a complete tangent, reading this article is the first time I've noticed the ugly little details of the "felony murder law".

    Under Florida law, individuals involved in a felony resulting in death can be charged with murder.

    You'd think that means if you kill someone while committing a felony that you can be charged with murder. That seems somewhat reasonable, although I can think of cases where it would be excessive.

    It turns out if you break into a house for a robbery and some other guy that came with you kills someone maybe somewhere else in the house and you didn't even know you can still be charged with murder.

    Now, that seems pretty unfair but we find out in this story that they can go even beyond that. In this story a couple of kids break into a house and the homeowner shoots and kills one of them. They then applied this law to charge the other kid with murder!

    That's pretty messed up.

    • by hldn ( 1085833 )

      That's pretty messed up.

      uh not really, their actions are directly responsible for that other kid dying. they are very much culpable.

      • And if you jaywalk with a friend, only to have your friend get hit by a car, you are guilty of vehicular manslughter.

        Don't drop the soap.

        • by Tynin ( 634655 )

          And if you jaywalk with a friend, only to have your friend get hit by a car, you are guilty of vehicular manslughter.

          As a Floridian, I can happily inform you that jaywalking is one of the few things you can do in this State that isn't a felony.

        • by spazdor ( 902907 )

          If you are guilty of any crime, YOU ARE GUILTY OF ALL CRIMES.
          Principle of explosion, right?

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        The kid died as a direct result of his own actions.

    • It's interesting, I read that little blurb too. It immediately made me think of an episode of 'The Defenders'. Now, I know that it is just TV show but the same thing happened.

      On the show, the defendant was simply driving some friends to a bar. In the bar the friends were shaking down the owner for some money that was owed. The friends didn't know that there were 4 off duty cops in there and one of the friends ends up shot and killed. The argument was that, even though he was outside, the defendant w
    • Your honour, my only crime was pulling the trigger of this gun, I had no intention that it would begin the chain of events that lead to the death of my ex-wife.

  • Could be worst (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc@carpanet.PERIODnet minus punct> on Tuesday November 30, 2010 @04:56PM (#34394682) Homepage

    This is a funny mistake but... you know... at least it was the civilian police, and civilian courts.

    He should be glad his last name isn't El Masri: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_El-Masri [wikipedia.org]:

    a German citizen who was kidnapped,[3] flown to Afghanistan, interrogated and allegedly tortured by the CIA for several months as a part of the War on Terror. Afterwards he was released. This extrajudicial detention was apparently due to a misunderstanding that arose concerning the similarity of the spelling of El-Masri's name with the spelling of suspected terrorist al-Masri[4] (the names are spelled the same way when using Arabic script).

    On a related note, a friend of mine recently found he had a warrant for issues that are besides the point. Lets just say, dubious charges of a domestic nature. So, upon finding this out, and verifying it, he drove to a friends place to "lay low" while he calls his lawyer and figures what to do next. The advice he got? Interestingly.... go to the court house in the AM and surrender directly to the court. In this case, that meant he a) looked responsible to the judge b) got it over with quickly and c) denied the police (who had only heard the other side of the story) no chance to "recommend bail".

    In the end, he walked out on his on recognizance. (well, end of the day, if not the story)


  • Wanted for murder (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Taser ( 315566 )

    I can empathize with the shock of finding out you're wanted for something this severe that you have absolutely no involvement in. While we lived outside of the US, my brother had his car stolen, so we reported it to the police that very night.

    A couple of weeks later, a magazine notorious for reporting on gory crimes with graphic photos (at the time, everyone joked that "blood leaked out of the magazine if you squeezed it hard enough") had both my brother and myself accused as murderers in a crime that invol

  • DJDevon3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by djdevon3 ( 947872 )
    While searching for my own name I found out someone in the same town with the same name was sentenced to 50 years in prison. The guy was nailed for possession of about 3 kilo's of cocaine. The intent to distribute was pretty obvious. Let's just say none of my old friends or girlfriends have ever contacted me since.

    Which brings up a nifty scenario if you don't want to be contacted by old girlfriends. Just find a state vs drug dealer affidavit online somewhere, fill in the blanks with you name, create your
    • Might not be a good idea if you're planning on applying for a job anywhere, ever. (Unless you can make it really, really obvious that this false person is securely away for a long time and could not possibly be you.)
  • In August of 2004, the local authorities of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina were called to the apartment of one Joe Smith. Neighbors suspected a suicide.

    But Joe Smith was not dead. He was curled up in a ball in the corner of his room laughing and texting himself on his phone.

    Before Joe Smith was taken into protective custody, he handed a homemade video to the police labeled MY ALMOST SUICIDE.

    This is the transcript of the video.

    Joe Smith
    "Sometimes I Google Myself"
    The Dreadful Lonesome
    Satire Records/Morgantheau

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain