FARMINGTON — Family members of two women brutally murdered at a house in Farmington are disappointed they were not warned about the state’s intention to collect recordings captured on an Echo smart speaker.
On Nov. 5, Judge Steven Houran directed Amazon to produce recordings made between Jan. 27 and Jan. 29, 2017, under the theory “wake up words” could have prompted the device with Alexa voice command capability to activate.
Prosecutors at the Attorney General’s office believe there might be evidence of the murders and/or hindering apprehension of prosecution on the Echo.
The device belonged to Christine Sullivan, 48, and was located in the kitchen of the house she shared with boyfriend Dean Smoronk at 979 Meaderboro Road. Investigators believe Sullivan was killed in that kitchen by Timothy Verrill of Dover on Jan. 27, 2017.
Prosecutors say Smoronk, Sullivan and Verrill were selling drugs together before the double murders.
Verrill is also charged with murdering Jenna Pellegrini, 32, of Barrington, who was at the house with Sullivan as Smoronk checked on a rental property he owned in Cape Coral, Fla.
Smoronk called police when he returned home on Jan. 29, 2017. Sullivan and Pellegrini’s bodies were found wrapped in tarps underneath the home’s porch.
Michael Pellegrini is Jenna Pellegrini’s father. He said he first learned about the state’s motion to compel Amazon to produce the Echo recordings when he read about it in a local newspaper.
Pellegrini said finding out about the device was the next biggest shock to finding out his daughter was stabbed to death.
“We should have been informed there was a possibility of this happening in case it did come out. It’s not a small thing. It became national news,” Michael Pellegrini said Wednesday.
Michael Pellegrini said the Echo may provide an insight into the last moments of his daughter’s life and what happened as Verrill worked to dispose of the two bodies. He does not look forward to hearing what could have been captured but does hope it brings anyone involved in the double murder to justice.
“We want to know what happened. We want to know the truth,” Michael Pellegrini said.
Jeff Sullivan, Christine Sullivan’s brother, said he shocked to find out about the state’s motion and Houran’s order through the media. He said he had told law enforcement about his sister’s Echo device at the time of the murders.
“To find out they are looking into it two years later had me so angry,” Jeff Sullivan said. “The fact they blew this off until now leads me to believe there are many other things they blew off.”
Jeff Sullivan said Christine Sullivan may have lost her way in life temporarily, but she was a wonderful daughter, sister, aunt and friend. He said there are still a number of unanswered questions when it comes to her death.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward said Wednesday that although he cannot comment about communications to victims in any particular case, they work diligently to make sure family members are included in the process during the most difficult times of their lives.
Ward said telling anyone about an application for a search warrant or a motion to search would impact their investigative process, which does not end when charges are filed.
As far as information being released by the media, Ward said, “We can’t anticipate what may or may not create interest in the press.”
Houran’s ruling compelling Amazon to turn over the recordings has become national news in recent days, making its way to “Good Morning America.”
Attempts to reach Amazon were unsuccessful Wednesday.
Verrill is scheduled to go on trial May 9.