A New Hampshire judge believes Amazon’s Alexa, a virtual assistant device, is the key to cracking a double murder. On January 27, 2017, Christine Sullivan and her friend, Jenna Pellegrini, were stabbed to death in Sullivan’s home where she lived with her boyfriend.
According to People, Timothy Verill was later arrested by Massachusetts police for the crime. He was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and pleaded not-guilty to both. Police believe that Verill murdered Sullivan and Pellegrini due to fear that they were going to turn him in for drug trafficking.
Now, police believe that they might have a way to prove Verill guilty for the murder. They are looking to gain possession of an Amazon Alexa device that had been sitting on the counter at the time of the crime. They believe that the device could have recorded the brutal stabbing, as well as the cleanup that happened afterwards. Following the murder, the bodies of Pellegrini and Sullivan were found buried underneath the front porch of the home. With access to Alexa, police might be able to identify Verill’s voice on the recording and learn further information regarding the motive of the killing.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 13, 2018
Following Verill’s hearing on Friday, the judge ruling on the case ordered that Amazon turn over the recording from the night of the crime to police.
“The court finds there is probable cause to believe the server(s) and/or records maintained for or by Amazon.com contain recordings made by Echo smart speaker from the period of Jan. 27 to Jan. 29, 2017… and that such information contains evidence of crimes committed against Ms. Sullivan, including the attack and possible remove of the body from the kitchen,” the judge said.
However, Amazon reportedly has no plans to turn over the information easily, even if it means solving the case. Without the proper legal documentation the company refuses to release information captured on any of their devices.
“Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us,” an Amazon spokesman said. “Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.”
Amazon’s Alexa is, at its most basic functionality, a speaker for playing music. However, it has become especially popular for home owners because of its smart home and digital assistant capabilities. It can control basic home functions, such as the thermostat, provide the weather, shop online, and search the web all using the sound of your voice.