Judge orders Amazon to turn over Echo recordings in murder case

Judge orders Amazon to give up Echo recordings in murder case

DOVER, NH (WMUR/CNN) - Could an Amazon Echo hold the key to a double-homicide case in New Hampshire?

A judge there has ordered the online giant to turn over recordings of an Echo that was inside the home where the murders happened.

Millions of Americans have them, and state prosecutors hope one of them contains crucial evidence in a double-murder case.

"Alexa comes with a price," said Albert Scherr of the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

Timothy Verrill is accused of murdering 48-year-old Christine Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini, 32.

Authorities say they were stabbed to death at a Farmington, NH, home in January of 2017.

As Verrill awaits trial, a judge has granted the state’s request to access recordings of an Amazon Echo smart speaker. The speaker was in the kitchen at the time Sullivan was killed.

“I think most people probably don’t even realize that Alexa is taking account of what’s going on in your house, in addition to responding to your demands and commands,” Scherr said.

Scherr said this is becoming more common.

Prosecutors believe the Echo which uses Alexa voice commands might have recorded audio of the moment Sullivan was attacked as well as the removal of her body.

State police have the speaker and now the judge is telling Amazon to turn over the recordings from its server.

“The attorney general’s office is smart not just to say ‘hey, we got possession of Alexa,’ so to speak,” Scherr said. “We can do whatever we want with it. They were smart to get an order from the court.”

As for Amazon, it said it will not release anything until a proper legal demand has been served.

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