- Cameron Herrin, 21, was recently sentenced to 24 years in prison for vehicular homicide.
- A cult following for Herrin offering support has grown on Twitter and TikTok.
- Some followers said Herrin was “too cute” to spend so long incarcerated.
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In 2018, Cameron Herrin hit a mother and her daughter with his car, killing them. Herrin was sentenced to 24 years in prison in April after pleading guilty to vehicular homicide. Now a cult following on TikTok is voicing support for him.
Jessica Reisinger-Raubenolt, 24, and her 20-month-old daughter, Lillia, were crossing the street in Tampa, Florida, when Herrin fatally struck them. Prosecutors said Herrin was participating in a street race and was driving at 100 mph (161km/h), the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Since his sentencing, fan accounts saying Herrin deserves a second chance have sprung up. Some said he was “too cute” to be incarcerated for so long. Herrin’s own TikTok account has 2 million followers, but no content is available to view.
TikToks about Herrin have racked up 2.2 billion views on the platform, while videos with the hashtag #justiceforcameron have been viewed 26.1 million times. The TikToks mostly show Herrin in court, often with footage and stills of him crying. They capture the look on his face when he was sentenced and the moment he lowered his mask to drink some water.
Accounts dedicated to Herrin’s cause have also appeared on Twitter and Instagram, and a Change.org petition calling to reduce his sentence has been signed over 28,000 times.
In a TikTok posted on August 4 with 2.2 million views, Hannah Kosh, who has 594,000 followers, explained that some people believe Herrin’s sentence is too harsh and shared some of their comments under various TikToks.
One said, “Not a killer,” while another said they hoped Herrin would be forgiven because “he looks innocent.”
“Poor boy,” the comment said, adding, “He doesn’t do in purpose.”
Others commented on Herrin’s looks, saying “omg his eyess” and “you’re too cute.”
There has been speculation that some of the accounts on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram are bots set up to jump on a trending topic. The Times reported that some of these accounts appeared to be based in the Middle East and used a mixture of Arabic and English, adding that some online-misinformation experts saw similarities with fake accounts paid to influence campaigns.
However, others appear to be genuine. Herrin’s mother told the Times that some people seemed to have “an unhealthy obsession” with her son, sending letters and calling her in the middle of the night. She said that while the support was comforting at first, things turned “scary” when people stalked her family members on social media and hacked Herrin’s fiancée’s accounts.
-ساره (@GKI4AGk3KcY6Vro) August 10, 2021
In a court hearing in April, David Raubenolt, Jessica’s husband and Lilia’s father, spoke publicly about the impact of their deaths and asked the judge to give Herrin the maximum sentence of 30 years. ABC Action News reported that his testimony lasted 45 minutes, during which he said, “This was a crash, not an accident. Please be aware of that.”
He added, “I can’t get the thought of the entitled monster who killed them. Something happens to me in this room.”
Addressing Herrin directly, Raubenolt said, “It is critical for you to understand that you’ve created everlasting pain and depths of sorrow.”
This isn’t the first time people on social media have developed an obsession with a young person facing prison. In May 2020, teenagers made fan Instagram pages for Peter Manfredonia, a 23-year-old University of Connecticut student charged with murder.
Insider’s Kat Tenbarge reported that the morbid “stan” accounts seemed to be an ironic in-joke among fans of Nicki Minaj and the controversial social-media star Peaches.