MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hallandale Beach Police hope audio recordings from a pair of Amazon Echo devices might hold crucial evidence in a bizarre murder case, court documents show.
According to a search warrant obtained by CBS 4 News, Hallandale Beach Police asked a judge to order Amazon to turn over audio recordings from a pair of Amazon Echo Dot devices in the condo Silvia Galva Crespo shared with her husband, Adam Crespo. Detectives indicate in the warrant that they believe the devices might have captured audio of what led up to and what occurred during her death this past July when the blade of a spear pierced her chest, killing her.
According to a police arrest report, Crespo and Galva argued one night in July and Crespo tried to pull her off a bed but Silvia grabbed onto a spear to keep herself on the bed.
The police report says “While (Adam Crespo) was still pulling her from the bed he heard a snap. (Adam Crespo) turned around and discovered shortly after the blade had penetrated the victim’s chest. (Adam Crespo) pulled the blade out of the victim’s chest ‘hoping it was not too bad.’”
But it was bad. Galva died and Crespo is charged with second-degree murder. Court records show he has pled not guilty.
Police blamed him for the death.
The arrest report says, “the actions of the defendant caused the victim to grab the spear to keep herself on the bed. The force used by the defendant to remove the victim cause the shaft to break and in an unknown way caused the blade to pierce the victim which caused the loss of life.”
CBS 4 News has learned that Hallandale Beach Police believe audio of what occurred in the condo might have been recorded on a pair of Amazon devices in the home.
A police search warrant says “It is believed that the evidence of crimes — audio recordings capturing the attack on victim Silvia Crespo…and any events that preceded or succeeded the attack — may be found on the server(s) maintained by or for Amazon.com for all recordings made by the aforementioned Echo smart speakers.”
The detective wrote in the warrant, “(Detective) knows that Amazon.com retains user data including both subscriber and content of communications until the account is both terminated and deleted.”
It appears that the efforts by police were successful. The search warrant says detectives obtained
“Amazon Echo Recordings w/Alexa Voice Command”
A Hallandale Beach Police Department spokesperson, Sgt. Pedro Abut, acknowledged that the agency received material from Amazon.
“We are in the process of reviewing some of the items that we obtained from Amazon,” Sgt. Abut said, adding that he couldn’t discuss the content of the material.
Christopher O’Toole is the attorney representing Adam Crespo. He does not believe the Amazon recordings will reveal much but he is interested in learning what the evidence shows.
“We want that evidence in because it will show our client was sleeping that night,” O’Toole said. “Unless you say one of the key words the device shouldn’t capture any audio unless Amazon is secretly capturing everybody’s audio but we don’t know that, obviously.”
O’Toole said the defense belief is that Silvia had been drinking and was the aggressor, breaking down the bedroom door at one point to try and get access to the bedroom.
“He knew if he confronted her, she would become violent,” O’Toole said. “He didn’t want to have the ability to swing at him and that’s why he grabbed her by the foot.”
As soon as Adam Crespo realized what occurred, he yelled for a female friend of Silvia’s who was in the apartment to call 911, the police report said. The majority of the 911 call is the friend and Adam Crespo trying to perform CPR on Silvia.
“He was distraught,” O’Toole said. “He’s still distraught. He called 911 immediately. He was whimpering. There was no delay there. It’s not an act.”
Ultimately, O’Toole does not believe Adam Crespo should have been arrested.
“I believe it’s an accident,” O’Toole said. “I believe either she broke the spear and it happened to be the perfect storm of her falling at the same time and or she grabbed the spear to try to reach out and hit him with it.
“It amounts to my client being the victim of an overzealous prosecution.”
CBS 4 News reached out to Amazon about this case. A spokesperson said “Amazon does not disclose customer information in response to government demands unless we’re required to do so to comply with a legally valid and binding order. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.”
Amazon said they do not record conversations or send audio to its cloud until a device hears the wake word like Alexa or Echo. Amazon also says you can delete any recordings you make.