Old footage of a US court hearing has been viewed millions of times in TikTok and Facebook posts that falsely claim it shows the 17-year-old suspect in the killing of a Filipino worker in Kuwait in January 2023. The clip has actually circulated in news reports since 2019 about an American teenager charged with murder.
"This is really the person who killed ranara in Kuwait who is 17 years old," reads part of the Tagalog-language text overlaid on the court footage, shared on TikTok on January 29.
The post circulated after the remains of overseas Filipino worker Jullebee Ranara arrived in Manila from Kuwait on January 27.
Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople told local media the suspect in Ranara's killing is the 17-year-old son of the family she worked for. She did not disclose further details about the suspect.
In a statement on January 29, the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait said the suspect "has been arrested and is currently in detention". It described Ranara's death as "brutal and tragic".
President Ferdinand Marcos, who visited Ranara's wake in a Manila suburb, said his government is scheduling bilateral meetings with Kuwait to review the labour agreement between both countries to protect migrant workers following Ranara's killing.
Below is a screenshot of the false TikTok post:
Screenshot of the false TikTok post. Captured February 2, 2023.
Similar clips have been viewed over two million times in posts about Ranara's killing on TikTok and Facebook here, here and here.
Comments from some users indicate they believed the posts' claim.
"Life imprisonment to him, justice for Jubelle (sic) Ranara," one said.
"He should never be freed, he should suffer in jail for the rest of his life," commented another.
The video, however, predates Ranara's killing by more than three years.
Google keyword and reverse image searches found it corresponds to longer footage uploaded on July 3, 2019 on the YouTube channel of FOX Carolina News, a US broadcaster based in the state of South Carolina.
It shows a bond hearing for 17-year-old Stephen Braden Powell after he was charged with the murder of 11-year-old Ja'Naiya Scott.
The caption reads: "Judge denies bond for man accused of killing Ja'Naiya Scott".
The video in the false posts corresponds to the longer YouTube footage from the beginning until its two-minute, seven-second mark.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in one of the false posts (left) and the YouTube video uploaded by FOX Carolina News (right):
A screenshot comparison of the false TikTok post (left) and the Fox Carolina News footage (right)
From the YouTube video's three-minute 11-second mark, the judge can be seen telling the court that Powell has been charged with murder, four counts of attempted murder, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
"On all the charges that I just read to you, I'm going to deny bond," the judge says.
A search on the website of South Carolina's judicial branch here indicates the case was still pending as of February 3, 2023.
WSPA-TV, a television station based in South Carolina, reported in July 2019 that Powell was 17 years old when he was arrested and charged with murder and four counts of attempted murder.
FOX Carolina News also streamed the hearing live on Facebook here on July 3, 2019. The court footage was featured in a report on the same day by WYFF News 4, another South Carolina broadcaster.