Judge orders Amazon to hand over Echo recordings in double murder case

Donna Miller
November 11, 2018

Authorities in New Hampshire are hopeful a smart speaker will be smart enough to convict a double murderer.

Christine Sullivan, 48, and her friend Jenna Pellegrini, 32, were found stabbed to death in the backyard of Sullivan's Farmington, New Hampshire home on January 29, 2017. Autopsy results showed Sullivan had a fractured skull and had been stabbed in the neck, lungs and heart.

Prosecutors say the women were murdered by Timothy Verrill, who is due to stand trial in May 2019.

The bodies of the women were found in the backyard under a tarp and a knife was found buried nearby, cops said.

It's not clear if audio was recorded by the device, but it is probable as Amazon's Echo is a voice activated device and could've have caught snippets of the murder. Verrill has pleaded not guilty. When State Police Sgt. Brian Strong entered the house with Sullivan's boyfriend, Dean Smoronk, he saw blood in the kitchen on and near the refrigerator, damage to the kitchen ceiling and a large pool of blood on the floor.

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Prosecutors believe there are Echo recordings capturing the attack on Sullivan and the removal of her body that could be found on the server maintained by Amazon.

The motion, which was made in lieu of an application for a search warrant, also asks for information identifying cellular devices that were paired to that smart speaker in that time period.

Timothy Verrill, 34, has been charged with murder for the deaths of two women found stabbed at a friend's home in Farmington, N.H., on January 29, 2017.

Amazon's Echo is supposed to activate only when the user utters a predetermined "wake word", but there have been numerous reports of the devices turning on by themselves, speaking and laughing creepily without being activated by the user.

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