Defense attorney links MySpace suicide to second teenager

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | 9:50 p.m. CDT

LOS ANGELES — The eastern Missouri teenager who is said to have committed suicide over an Internet hoax was not the only girl exchanging messages with "Josh Evans," a fake MySpace profile a neighbor woman charged with the girl's death is accused of operating , the woman's lawyer said Tuesday.

Attorney Dean Steward filed a request in federal court for the phone records of a second teenage girl identified by the initials "S.D."

Lori Drew of O'Fallon is accused of helping create a false-identity account on the social networking site, posing as a teenage boy and befriending her 13-year-old neighbor, Megan Meier.

Prosecutors said Meier hanged herself in 2006 after allegedly receiving messages from Drewthrough the fake account saying the world would be better off without her. She was being treated for attention deficit disorder and depression.

In his motion, Steward seeks the phone records of S.D. to prove that prosecutors mistakenly linked Meier to a message that S.D. actually sent to the fake account.

Prosecutors have said the message — listed in the Drew indictment as "Overt Act 9" — was sent by Meier because she was induced by Drew to flirt with the fictitious teenage boy.

Steward criticized the government for poor research and said S.D.'s e-mail address was on the message.

"Doesn't that throw doubt on the rest of the overt acts?" Steward said in a phone interview. "There are 10 overt acts and maybe they are all flat wrong."

Steward quoted the message as saying: "Heyy babe!!! Call me sometime (phone number) It's the cell. I love you so much."

Steward said S.D. was "a juvenile that was part of a group of teenagers who were texting and e-mailing each other. There were a couple of boys involved."

Steward said in his court filing that he had contacted S.D's relatives who confirmed her cell phone number.

U.S. attorney's spokesman Thom Mrozek declined comment on the development.

In May, a Los Angeles federal grand jury indicted Drew on charges of conspiracy and accessing computers without authorization to get information used to inflict emotional distress. She pleaded not guilty.

The case is being prosecuted in Los Angeles because MySpace computer servers are based in the area.

The case is scheduled for trial Nov. 18 but a motion to dismiss charges is pending.

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