Amazon asked to hand over Echo recordings from home where two women were brutally murdered
Christine Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini, who was staying in the home at the time, were found murdered in the backyard on January 29, 2017
The authorities in New Hampshire have said that they are hoping a smart speaker will be able to live up to its name and lead to conviction in a double murder. A judge ordered e-commerce giant Amazon to hand over the recordings that were made by its Echo device in the Farmington, New Hampshire, home where victim Christine Sullivan lived with her boyfriend. Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini, who was staying in the home at the time, were found murdered in the backyard on January 29, 2017.
ABC News reported that the authorities revealed the bodies of both women were left under a tarp in the backyard and a knife was buried close to their corpses. 32-year-old Pellegrini had been found stabbed 43 times while 48-year-old Sullivan was found with eight stab wounds and a fractured skull.
34-year-old Timothy Verrill was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of both women. He pleaded not guilty in February 2017. The authorities testified at the bail hearing in August 2017 that Verrill had known Dean Smoronk, Sullivan's boyfriend who owned the home, and that Verrill also had access to the security code for the home.
According to Manchester ABC affiliate WMUR, Verrill was spotted in the home surveillance video with both of the women before they were stabbed to death. Strafford County Superior Court Presiding Justice Steven M. Houran handed down the ruling on November 9.
The ruling states: "Accordingly, the State's motion to search in lieu of a search warrant is granted. The court directs Amazon.com to produce forthwith to the court any recordings made by an Echo smart speaker with Alexa voice command capability, FCC ID number ZWJ-0823, from the period of January 27, 2017 to January 29, 2017, as well as any information identifying cellular devices that were paired to that smart speaker during that time period."
Court taking a brief recess in Timothy Verrill's bail hearing. pic.twitter.com/Z4u3AgtE2p— Kimberley Haas (@KimberleyHaas) September 6, 2017
According to court documents, the Amazon Echo device was seized by the authorities from the home. It is still unclear if there was any audio evidence on the smart speaker.
The court, however, found probable cause that the speaker could have somehow recorded "evidence of crimes committed against Ms. Sullivan, including the attack and possible removal of the body from the kitchen". A spokesperson for Amazon told The Associated Press that it would not release any recordings "without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us".