"We felt that ... knowing that she's got mental stuff going on, was enough to turn what normally wouldn’t be tortious into tortious or malicious," Kunasz said. "And the fact that this 47-year-old woman is participating -- whether it be physically or just egging them on verbally -- to me something was very off. What they were trying to do as a whole in the long-run was humiliate this girl, make her feel like a piece of [dirt], and make her feel sad.... They were intentionally trying to hurt her."
But four jurors felt that because Megan and Sarah Drew had a opened a MySpace account months earlier to meet boys, that Megan was emotionally functional and should have known what she was getting herself into by communicating with "Josh." She should have been prepared to be rejected by "Josh."
But these two things can exist simultaneously. Megan could still be aware of what she was involved in and yet still be completely blindsided by what actually occurred. There’s rejection, and then there’s harassment.
The trial was plagued with a number of problems, including conflicting testimony, and the fact that Megan’s suicide was not suppose to factor into the decision. It’s practically impossible to leave Megan’s suicide out of the investigation, because no matter which way you spin it, the distress of the attacks on her through MySpace caused her to kill herself. She was especially vulnerable due to her past problems, and the fact that Lori knew about this only damns the woman more.
One of the issues in this case—and the reason it is held in Los Angeles, where MySpace’s servers are based—is that it’s supposed to be a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which was previously used for hacking. Indeed, the fraud protection of the law can liberally be applied to this trial, even though emotional distress isn’t listed as a reason. The jury had to decide if Lori Drew obtained unauthorized access to MySpace’s computers with the intention of inflicting emotional distress on Megan Meir and a conspiracy to do the same thing.
This case has been closely watched by a number of people, partly because it is considered the first cyber-bullying case and could set precedents in the future.
Links to pdfs of the indictment and jury instructions, both before and during the trial, can be found, along with the complete story, at the Threat Level blog from Wired. Here's a related piece on vigilante justice and the role the Internet played with exposing the story.