Last month, on March 14, 11-year old Tysen Benz read text messages saying that his 13-year-old girl friend had committed suicide. In apparent grief, the 11-year-old boy from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula hanged himself. In reality, the girl had sent the fake news as a joke. Or as a cruel trick. Or because she was 13.
In the Shakespeare play, to fake her death Juliet took a sleeping potion that made her seem dead. (They didn’t have text messaging then.)
Now, if this was really “Romeo and Juliet,” Juliet would have killed herself too after learning that her boyfriend was dead. Instead, she is facing criminal charges. Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wiese says that she is responsible for Tysen’s death, so he is charging her with malicious use of telecommunication service, punishable by up to six months in juvenile detention. He is also charging “Juliet” with using a computer to commit a crime, which carries a sentence of up to a year.
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