Judge in Murder Case Says Authorities May Examine Recording Device in Suspect’s Home, Raising Concerns over Privacy

Alexa, Wiki


New Hampshire:  A judge has ordered that authorities may examine recordings by an Amazon Echo speaker owned by Timothy Verrill of Dover, who is accused of first-degree murder of two women.  New devices like Echo and Google Home may record background conversations in addition to listening for keywords.  Prosecutors believe that the recordings captured the attack on one of the victims and could be found in the server maintained by Amazon, and information from the Echo would also include any cellphones that were paired with it.  Amazon is insisting on a warrant before handing over private recordings.

A New Hampshire judge has “directed Amazon.com to produce” any recordings an Amazon Echo may have because it could contain evidence of a January 2017 double-murder. Prosecutors are looking for the two days worth of recording from the Echo in a Meaderboro Road, Farmington home where 47-year-old Christine Sullivan and 32-year-old Jenna Pellegrini were found dead.

The information from the Echo would also include if any cellphones were paired with it.

According to prosecutors, sometime between January 27 and 29, 2017, Sullivan and Pellegrini were murdered by 36-year-old Timothy Verrill. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, along with other charges, and is in jail waiting for his trial in May 2019.

“Investigators believe Sullivan was attacked in the kitchen of 979 Meaderboro Road where the Echo was located, and prosecutors believe there is probable cause to believe there is evidence on the Echo, such as audio recordings of the attack and events that followed it,” said court documents.

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