Eli Manning, ‘SNL’ shows how SMS evidence might be used in a criminal case

Eli Manning appeared on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” on May 5, and funny / not funny / you decide skits was one that centered on the bane of many adults – SMS / text message speak and emoticons, some of which are difficult to decipher.

In this skit, Eli Manning plays Chad Kevin Jeremy, a murder suspect. The time of death was between 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. During that time, Manning was in communication with others via text message. Of course, that wouldn’t prove where he was, but it could prove his location, based on the location of the cell tower his phone was bouncing off of.

During the testimony, it was noted that Manning sent a text with the emoticon ;P to a woman he met at a bar. Since the jury needed to be aware of what that meant, Manning had to display a face with a tongue sticking out. As his defense attorney said, “Not exactly the face of a man about to commit murder, is it?”

 

The defense then went through a bunch of texts that Manning was sending to, apparently, attempt to get a date – or something – that night, sent from 10:41 to 10:51. At 10:54, he sent a message with a message that said “want some?” The photo, above, shows Manning holding a banana in his crotch area, which as he told the jury, represented his penis.

However, he added, the photo was not accurate, because “The banana is larger.”

The recipient of that MMS replied “Chad, you woke me and my fiance. Don’t text me anymore,” to which Manning replied “Kewl.” The jury, still confused about SMS-speak, had to be informed how “kewl” was pronounced (q-el, which of course, he also explained meant cool).

Later, Manning sent a message saying “I’m probably the last guy you want to hear from, just know that your are loved,” which drew an “awww,” but he then had to explain 😮 – and once again, demonstrate it visually for the jury.

Of course, after all this was over with, his defense attorney wanted to show off his client’s Internet search history for the evening. To that, Manning, already having bared enough dirty laundry, decided enough was enough and that “I’d rather just confess to the murder.”

Of course, his attorney forced him to read his search history, beginning with “elderly butts.” While the prosecution decided it did not want to listen to any more of this type of evidence, the judge motioned for Manning to continue.

The next search query: “very elderly butts.”

It is true that text message and cell phone evidence are, if available, casually used in criminal investigations.  It’s not the case that such humorous SMS messages are the norm, although considering the rise of “sexting,” who knows?