DOVER -- Judge Steven Houran has directed Amazon.com to produce recordings made by an Echo smart speaker with Alexa voice command capability because it could have clues about the last moments of Christine Sullivan’s life.
Sullivan, 48, and Jenna Pellegrini, 32, were stabbed to death Jan. 27, 2017. Their bodies were found at 979 Meaderboro Road in Farmington on Jan. 29, 2017.
Timothy Verrill, of Dover, has been charged in their deaths. He is accused of killing Sullivan in the kitchen. Autopsy results showed Sullivan had a fractured skull and had been stabbed in the neck, lungs and heart. When State Police Sgt. Brian Strong entered the house with Sullivan’s boyfriend, Dean Smoronk, he saw blood in the kitchen on and near the refrigerator, damage to the kitchen ceiling and a large pool of blood on the floor. Verrill is accused of hiding the corpses in a tarp underneath the home’s porch.
As evidence was collected, the Echo was seized.
On Oct. 30, Senior Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward asked Houran to direct Amazon.com to produce any recordings made between Jan. 27 and Jan. 29, 2017, suggesting evidence of the crime of murder and/or hindering apprehension of prosecution could be found on the device.
“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,” Ward wrote.
“Specifically, when the Echo detects a ‘wake up word(s),’ the device begins audio recording through its integrated microphones, including recording the fraction of a second of audio before the ‘wake up word(s),’” Ward continued.
The motion, which was made in lieu of an application for a search warrant, also asks for information identifying cellular devices that were paired to that smart speaker in that time period.
Verrill’s jury trial on charges of two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of falsification of physical evidence was scheduled to begin this month but was postponed so his public defender, Melissa Davis, could have more time to prepare.
A jury trial is scheduled to begin May 9 and is expected to last 31 days.