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“Alexa, who did it?”: Cops turns to Amazon Alexa to solve murder case

December 28, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
“Alexa, who did it?”: Cops turns to Amazon Alexa to solve murder case

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Back in 2015, law enforcement officers discovered 47-year-old Victor Collins dead in a hot tub on the patio of 31-year-old James Bates’ home in Arkansas. Over one year later, Bates has been charged with Collins’ killing, and in a groundbreaking case, Bentonville authorities believe that the data from his Amazon Alexa could assist them in solving the case.

The Echo connects to the Amazon Alexa voice commands but is often activated into “listen” mode accidentally and could have “overheard” something important, according to Engadget.

According to Newser.com, officials have issued a warrant requesting Amazon to turn over audio and other reports from the device in what The Information states “may be the first case of its kind.”

Bates maintained that he had Collins and two others over to watch football and drink in November 2015. He was apprehended in February.

The suspect claimed that one friend went home, but Collins and the other friend went in the hot tub and continued to drink. He says he left them there when he went to sleep and discovered Collins floating face down in the hot tub the next day.

Authorities arrived and found the hot tub water colored red and Collins with swollen and bruised lips, a black eye, a cut on his eyelid, and blood dripping from his nose and mouth; it was ruled that Collins was killed by strangulation, with drowning as a contributory cause.

The USA Today reported that investigators also learned that 140 gallons of water were used between 1 am and 3 am on the morning of Collins’ death, and a hose was used.

Authorities allege that the patio was sprayed down in an attempt to get rid of evidence; they found hot tub knobs and cushions on the ground and Collins’ blood splattered on the hot tub cover, the sides of the tub, and one of the cushions.

Bates also had bruises and scratches all over him, and police recovered Collins’ wedding ring and a shattered shot glass at the bottom of the hot tub, as well as a broken pair of Collins’ glasses.

Amazon has only released Bates’ account details and purchases so far, but law enforcement officials revealed that they have managed to extract the data that was picked up by the device’s speaker.

Bates’ lawyer contends that the request from Amazon is an invasion of privacy, and an example of authorities using “technology that advances our quality of life against us.”

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