Benton County prosecutors drop Amazon Echo murder case | Arkansas Blog

Benton County prosecutors drop Amazon Echo murder case

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A VOICE NOT JUST AN ECHO: Speaker recordings could help murder investigation.
  • A VOICE NOT JUST AN ECHO: Speaker recordings could help murder investigation.
40/29 reports that prosecutors in Bentonville have dropped prosecution of a murder that received national attention for efforts to use information from an Amazon Echo as evidence.

This means the dismissal of a murder charge against James Andrew Bates, charged in the 2015 death of Victor Collins. He was found dead in a hot tub in Bates' home. A medical examiner's report said he seemed to have been in a fight and died from strangulation and drowning.

Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith told 40/29 he plans for the case to be dismissed without prejudice, because the evidence can support more than one reasonable explanation.
The charge could be refiled.

During the pre-trial process, a judge issued a search warrant for all Amazon recordings from an Echo device in Bates' home during the time under investigation. That spurred coverage of the implications for a new way for authorities to dig into personal privacy, though prosecutors said it was no different from being able to search phone or bank records.


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