When criminals are arrested and charged with a crime, their mugshot reveals more than a police report can. And when a person is smiling in their photo, it can be a little scary. Although celebrities are notorious for grinning in their mugshots in an attempt to make light of their charges or to look innocent, other people who’ve been booked on more severe charges grin in their pics for ulterior motives. In fact, smiling in mugshots has become so common, some police even fine people when they do it. “As long as it’s not — like some people will really cheese up and these kinds of things and we just can’t have that,” Capt. Mark McLaughlin of Mecklenburg County, N.C. said in 2012. Although there’s no rule that says you can’t smile in a photo, some deputies see it as a sign of antagonization, especially if you’re booked for protesting.
But what about those arrested on attempted murder charges? What motivation do they have to grin creepily at the camera? “Some of them may actually be proud of what they’ve done,” said Milo Colton, an associate professor of criminal justice at St. Mary’s University. Considering the grisly crimes smiling perps are typically charged with, it wouldn’t be a far-fetched theory. Below, seven people who eerily smiled in their scary mugshots.
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