Italian woman murdered by husband. Second Life blamed. [updated]

The Daily Mail is carrying the story of the murder of Catania woman Maria Pia Scuto, 41, whose husband (Giuseppe Castro, 35) confessed to her 30 March murder, "after," says the Daily Mail, "after discovering her on the computer with her avatar lover on Second Life."

Well, that's apparently not the case. Having gone through the local news reports, Second Life is not even mentioned. Text messages, Facebook and Instant Messaging are. The couple reportedly quarreled frequently, and apparently Castro committed the murder due to the discovery of an email -- though available testimony is still a little fuzzy.

However, no virtual worlds. No Second Life. Just IM and email. And this isn't the first time Second Life has been stuck with the rap for a crime committed by people who never used it.

In January 2007, many prominent news services carried a story of second-degree murder, involving Second Life, only it didn't actually involve Second Life either, due to a chain of errors on the part of the news services who were copying the story from each-other. Nevertheless, nobody really ever went ahead and retracted those articles, and Second Life remains linked with that murder in the minds of many.

You can read about how those mistakes happened, and it looks like much the same is happening here again.

What happened to Scuto is certainly a terrible thing, but the sudden spurious injection of Linden Lab's virtual environment into the mix is quite bizarre.

"A lie can run around the world before the truth can get it's boots on." -- James Watt.

We expect this Second Life murder story to keep spreading pretty much as it is, and few (if any) of the media outlets that cover it are likely to come back later and say "Sorry, we screwed up because we didn't do our research."

[UPDATE: The Daily Mail today removed the references to Second Life from their story.]


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This article was originally published on Massively.