Prosecutors in Connecticut have used wearable technology data as evidence in an ongoing court case. Legal officials involved with the case say that Richard Dabate, a man accused of killing his wife in their Connecticut home two years ago, appears to be lying about the timeline of events. A Fitbit belonging to his murdered wife, which contains data about her whereabouts and physical activity, does not match the timeline the murder suspect had provided to the court.
Craig Stedman, the district attorney for Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said that the use of Fitbit records is, at the very least, “rare.”
Dabate has previously told police that a masked individual had entered their suburban home on December 23rd, 2015 at around 9am, and subdued him by using his body’s “pressure points.” The assailant, according to Dabate, then went on to shoot his wife with a gun that was already in the house. His wife, Connie Dabate, was allegedly returning to their home after working out at the nearby YMCA, when the assailant found her and shot her. According to Dabate, once he was able to move, he chased away the murderer using a blowtorch.
However, the Fitbit data that has been entered into the court case seems to suggest that his story might not be entirely true. The data from the device, which uses a pedometer to track the steps of the wearer, shows that Connie Dabate was still moving for more than 90 minutes after her husband said that the murder occurred. Furthermore, the device also showed that after arriving at her home, Connie has traveled over 1.2k feet, which suggests the story about her being killed as soon as she arrived is just not true. The distance between her parked vehicle and the part of her home where she was killed is less than 125 feet, according to official police documents.
In the arrest warrant, a detailed explanation of all of Connie’s movements (and her locations) was listed from the moment she woke up, right up to the moment she was killed. The sync locations and the device’s activity monitor let investigators create an accurate timeline of her morning. The timeline records the moment she left home to go to the gym, her walk to the garage where she got in her car, her movements at the gym, her journey home and eventually, the moment her body stopped moving.
It’s not just the Fitbit that is challenging Dabate’s claims, however. Computer records show that he lied about his location when he sent his employer an email in the morning. Dabate explained that he emailed his boss when he was on the road, but computer records clearly show he was actually at home.
Digital data is becoming increasingly important in trials, and the information entered into this court case could see Dabate being charged for murder. He is currently out on bail and facing the charges of making false statements, committing murder, and tampering with evidence.