Florida Woman’s Smiling Mugshot Triggers Public Outcry After Lethal DUI Accident

1526581064132We often discuss the choice of whether to smile in a mugshot (at the risk of appearing gleeful) or frowning (at the risk of looking guilty). Angenette Welk, 44, chose poorly.  Her smiling mugshot has prompted an outrage from people over the fact that, before she took the picture, she killed a 60-year-old mother in a drunk driving accident.

Welk failed to brake in time and rear-ended a Hyundai Elantra. The Elantra then slammed into a tractor-trailer. The driver of the Elantra, Shiyanne Kroll, 18, was not seriously hurt but her mother, Sandra Clarkson, 60, was killed.  She lingered for days before dying from her injuries.

Welk claimed that she dropped her phone right before the crash but her blood alcohol level was .172 — more than twice the legal limit.


45 thoughts on “Florida Woman’s Smiling Mugshot Triggers Public Outcry After Lethal DUI Accident”

  1. Looks like the consummate party girl. She’s at least 20 years too old for that sort of thing.

  2. DWI Incident in Arizona…Trouble in Indian Country May, 2018. The Navajo Nation.

    Normally, Navajo President Russell Begaye would be there too.

    He is a no show because Russell’s 41 year old daughter, Karis Begaye who serves as legal counsel, had a 4th DWI incident. Karis totaled a $40,000 SUV that was a Navajo Tribal vehicle (company car). The booze she bought was charged to a tribal expense account…The Navajo Tribe. Karis says she is sorry. For the 4th time. But it heats up.

    After reports began circulating that Karis Begaye had received no disciplinary action and had even been allowed to use another tribal vehicle, many tribal members went on social media to protest, accusing Navajo President Russell Begaye of favoritism and failure to follow tribal law.


  3. I cannot tell you the number of times someone put a gun to my head and forced me to drink until I was beyond drunk. I am not going to convict someone because of their mugshot.

    1. Not convict, but I’d enhance punishment based on the obvious indifference to the consequences of her fatal crime.

      1. mespo – so you are going to enhance the punishment because she has a nice smile and the camera loves her? That is a little harsh.

        1. Nope I’m going to enhance the punishment because the easy smile under the circumstances is a window into the depraved heart. The smile is the symptom not the cause.

          1. mespo – The fatality didn’t occur until days later and the mugshot was likely taken right after the accident. While she still had little reason to smile, she wasn’t laughing at the death of the woman and may have had no idea she was seriously injured. Throw the book at her for driving drunk and make her liable for the fatality. Nothing extra for the mug shot.

              1. “Not convict, but I’d enhance punishment based on the obvious indifference to the consequences of her fatal crime.”

                How could she show indifference to the consequences of her fatal crime if she didn’t know the victim was going to die?

                1. She only knew the woman was on life support at the time. Her crime would be negligent homicide given that the victim died later. I don’t see a problem with the statement.

                  1. You know, I think you’re right there.
                    Dead or severely injured, what does it matter? I was unnecessarily splitting hairs, mea culpa.

                    1. I think it’s important to acknowledge mistakes. It’s no disgrace to be wrong, after all the last perfect man we nailed to a cross.

                      Have a great week.

          2. Excellent point. Smiling during such a moment speaks volumes about character.

            1. clyde mason – so, if she were crying and her mascara was running would you lessen the punishment?

        2. Guilt is mainly about state of mind (intention, negligence not caring about the consequences of one’s actions). Similarly, punishment is mainly about the individual’s state of mind vis-a-vis the criminal act. Not showing remorse about the consequences of one’s criminal acts is a definite NO NO. Gleeful behaviour after causing a death is basically asking for the maximum penalty. If found guilty of a crime, the woman might have put herself in deep trouble.

  4. This story is a testament to the proposition that, in this society, looks/appearances really do matter. The conduct that the preceded the smiling mug shot is what should be condemned. They don’t give classes on how to appear when your mug shot is taken. Lock her up because of her conduct, not because of her smile (or, if she had frowned, because of her lack of a smile.)

    If Martin Shkreli did not have the world’s most punchable face, he might have received a lighter sentence.

    1. I am also reminded of the infamous case of Amanda Knox where the Italians used her pre-arrest conduct, such as her performing cartwheels and other exercises, as somehow being evident of a craven mind and so willingly leaked that to the press, creating a persona of her being a heartless person deserving of scorn. This of course dehumanized her so that the prosecution could the both easily craft her into being a murderer and more importantly in their minds as proffering they were championing justice on behalf of the Italian People.

      1. IIRC, she was doing some stretching exercises while waiting with the other women at the police station and an intrigued police officer on duty asked her to repeat and elaborate on some of them for his entertainment (and she complied).

        Meredith Kercher’s family were stupid in ways that appear to be common in contested and contestable homicide cases, making themselves press agents for the prosecutor. Her father is a reporter employed by the tabloid press in Britain, which may explain the partisanship of the British press in the matter (aside from their usual odiousness).

        Jack Dunphy has said one of the disadvantages of living in a low-crime locale is an inexperienced police force. There are only about 500 homicides in Italy a year and it’s a reasonable wager very few puzzling homicides because homicide is a function of domestic quarrels and bar fights. The Italian police bungled and bungled and then the kook prosecutor doubled-down on their behalf. To an American, the idea of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox as joint perpetrators of a gruesome rape-murder-for-the-hell-of-it is facially implausible. That 90% of the forensic evidence pointed to a third person with whom neither could be shown to be acquainted takes it from the realm of the implausible to the realm of the insane. Neither the Italian public or the British public have the context.

  5. We have to consider the probability the defendant wasn’t speaking to the jailers about how fanciful it was to having just killed someone in an MVA. Because if it was otherwise that would be the only way to derive with certainty that is what she was thinking at the time of the mug shot–so that we can draw a truthful conclusion that she was joyed over the killing. It was just as likely to speculate that she was greatly remorseful prior to the mug shot and had a moment of relief from the strain, only to return to her sorrow afterward.

    How will anyone know for certain? Because we can’t with any accuracy know, we should not generally infer for the purpose of sentencing or conviction anything derived from the mug shot.

    At least one state that I know of does not permit mug shots to be subject to public disclosure / freedom of information requests. (WA). and I believe they are exempt from disclosure in the Federal system.


    Once prejudicial mug shots such as this become released into the public forum, how tainted can a prospective jury be? It’s a bit hard to argue for a change of venue within the omnipresent internet’s interweaving into most people’s thought.

    1. Darren:
      She knew her selfish actions and quest for “fun” left an innocent passenger unconscious, brain dead and barely clinging to life when the mug shot was taken. What manner of pre-photo shoot frivolity with her guards could account for her demeanor except a depraved heart? Did she think it was a Sports Illustrated spread? That smile is as damning as any statement disavowing remorse and is relevant to the punishment phase. Ten years in state sponsored finishing school sounds about right with a substantial substance abuse monitoring program when she gets out. Some community service in an ER after midnight wouldn’t hurt our smiling likely felon either.

      1. I agree with you that the capriciousness she displayed could be evidence of lack of remorse, but again it is just a sliver in time and she like anyone else is capable of multiple thoughts or emotions over a range of time, and the emotions experienced would grow in number as a function of time. How contemporaneous his display of delight was to the topic of the death / crime is certainly a factor. If it is established that, for example, she was interviewed during the time of the photograph and there could be no doubt that the atmosphere presented the experience of the crime, then if she acted with such frivolity the question would be much more easily proven.

        1. ” …could be evidence of lack of remorse, but again it is just a sliver in time and she like anyone else is capable of multiple thoughts or emotions over a range of time, and the emotions experienced would grow in number as a function of time. ”
          Does this happy-go-lucky soul get the “sliver in time” defense, too: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2451441/Charles-Mansons-relatives-release-unseen-pictures-monster-youth.html

      2. @mespo727272 May 18, 2018 at 7:32 AM
        She knew her selfish actions and quest for ‘fun’ left an innocent passenger unconscious, brain dead and barely clinging to life when the mug shot was taken.”

        How do you know that she knew all that when the mugshot was taken? And even if she did, if she was still heavily under the influence, it makes all the more apropos what Darren points out: “I agree with you that the capriciousness she displayed could be evidence of lack of remorse, but again it is just a sliver in time and she like anyone else is capable of multiple thoughts or emotions over a range of time, [My emphasis] and the emotions experienced would grow in number as a function of time.”

        Anyone who’s ever been to a funeral has seen grieving family members smile or even laugh before and after the service, not because they’re callously indifferent to the loss of a loved one, but because people in emotionally charged situations can experience a fairly wide range of feelings.

    2. Darren,
      I would think a defendant could argue that a mugshot, if made public,violates their rights to self-incrimination.

      1. Last night I was thinking the same thing. Since facial expressions are a form of communication and if the police lifted her spirit to make her smile or appear jubilant for the purposes of enhancing her sentence for lack of remorse I suppose it could trigger Miranda; though there could be an argument that this was not part of interrogation and this be outside of one of the six Miranda requirements.

        1. Thanks Darren. Do you recall the incident, I believe in East Palo Alto, where the man involved in a fatal accident was ruled to have spoken, because he remained silent for not asking about the condition of the victim in the other vehicle?

  6. A number of years ago I witnessed a head on between a street racer and a van. Del Obispo Ave in Dana Point CA to be exact. The van burned no one got out . The driver of the street racer about 17 survived, was drunk at the time as it turned out had only one comment. “Tell me is my face OK?” That was her only concern.

    In the three years I worked as a police officer I got to or had to witness more than one such episode. Some may put it down to shock but after thaving to help peel an infant off the inside of a car windshield because the driver couldn’t bother to use the safety seat I began to have less and less pity. Another case of drunk driving.

    All the excuses in the world never got me past… Who forced you to get drunk, or take drugs, and why ddn’t you die instead of……

    You wonder why police officers get hardened. I took the only choice and walked away from the job. But the Judge that let those people off with a slap on the wrist? I wonder how many others did that Judge kill.

    1. I’m so sorry you had to witness such heartbreaking things. Thank you for your time serving.

      My father told me about a friend of his, who was a cop many years ago. He had a new guy with him on his first day on the job. They responded to a traffic accident in which a lady drove a convertible underneath a tractor trailer. One half of her was on one side of the truck, and the other half was still in her car. The new guy seemed to be handling it well, until my Dad’s friend realized that he was writing the bottom half of her body a ticket for speeding. He made him go sit down for a while.

      I couldn’t do the job. I’d be crying and sick the first day. I am thankful there are people who do take on such a difficult task.

    2. Michael:
      Cops have to deal with human depravity head on. It’s tough and dismaying to witness the underbelly of human nature. I bet you never wonder why we’re classified fundamentally as animals. Read Hobbes and you’ll get a perspective on real human nature. And thanks for doing a job most folks wouldn’t.

      1. Perhaps that smile is evidence of what Pelosi calls her spark of divinity. After knowing what she had done, it makes her out more as an animal.

  7. If anyone ever cried out for the guillotine (after the requisite guilty conviction), with pay per view to help pay down the national debt, you’re lookin’ at her.

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