An Amazon Echo speaker with the Alexa voice assistant may be a key witness in a brutal 2017 double murder in New Hampshire.
A judge has ruled that investigators can examine recordings made by the speaker in connection with the stabbing deaths of Christine Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini at a Farmington home. Timothy Verrill is accused of first-degree murder, and faces trial after pleading not guilty.
Prosecutors believe there are recordings relating to Sullivan’s murder and removal of her body that could be found on the server maintained by Amazon.
“As part of the normal functioning of an Echo electronic device activated either intentionally or accidentally by ‘wake up words,’ audio recordings are made of the moment when the device is activated,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward wrote in October, according to the Union Leader newspaper.
A judge sided with prosecutors on Friday.
“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,” Strafford County Superior Court Presiding Justice Steven Houran said.
Amazon dropped its objection to a search warrant last year after a suspect, who owned the speaker, agreed to release the information.
The 48-year-old Sullivan and the 32-year-old Pellegrini were found dead in the backyard of the home. Pellegrini was stabbed 43 times and Sullivan was stabbed eight times and her skull was fractured, according to WMUR.
Sullivan lived in the house with boyfriend Dean Smoronk.