Fitbit Data Plays Role in Murder Investigation

A Fitbit device is playing a groundbreaking role in a murder investigation. Connie Dabate of Ellington, Connecticut was killed shortly before Christmas, 2015. Connie Dabate’s husband, Richard, was found by police at the residence partially zip-tied to a chair. The arrest report for the case states that a canine was brought to the house in an effort to track the scent of the intruder. After a failed first attempt to follow the intruder’s scent, the canine then focused on Richard who was in the process of receiving medical treatment in an ambulance. A Fitbit found on Connie has further helped to show inaccuracies in the story told by Richard.

The Husband’s Version of the Murder

Richard alleges that on December 23, 2015, his children were placed on the morning bus to school. Richard then went to work and Richard’s wife was headed to the local YMCA. After realizing that he had forgotten his laptop at home, Richard returned to the residence between 8:45 and 9:00 am. At the residence, Richard heard a noise and spotted an intruder which caused Richard to order Connie to run. After a brief struggle, the intruder shot and killed Connie. The intruder then zip-tied Richard to a chair, burned Richard with a torch, demanded Richard’s wallet, and cut Richard with knife. Still bound, Richard claims at 10:11 am that he crawled upstairs and pushed the panic button on his security system to notify law enforcement.

Evidence

The Fitbit data suggests a different story. The device reveals that Connie walked 1,217 feet around the house during the time that Richard says the couple was attacked. The Fitbit also recorded Connie’s last living movement at 10:05 am. According to Richard’s version of how the murder occurred, Connie would have had to stepped no more than 125 feet. In addition to the Fitbit, other electronic messages have further weakened Richard’s story. Facebook activity has revealed that Connie was active on Facebook between 9:40 am and 9:46 am and posted videos on her iPhone from her home. In addition to this evidence, Richard also texted potentially incriminating messages to his pregnant girlfriend on the day before Connie’s murder.

Motivation Alleged by Law Enforcement

Prosecution alleges that Connie was shot to death in the basement with a revolver owned by her husband. Additionally, prosecution claims that Richard had a pregnant girlfriend and attempted to make a claim for Connie’s $475,000 life insurance policy five days after her murder. In the arrest report, Richard states that infidelity occurred in his marriage from both spouses and that the pregnancy was unexpected. Despite his infidelity, Richard also claims in the arrest report that Richard, Connie, and the second woman planned to co-parent the child.

The Future of the Case

Earlier this month, Richard was charged in Superior Court with murder, tampering with evidence, and providing false statements due in part to this information from the Fitbit. Since this conviction, Richard has been released on a $1 million bond. This is not the first time that a Fitbit has played a role in a case. In 2014, a law firm used a Fitbit device as part of a personal injury claim to show that a car accident made an individual less active. In 2015, a Fitbit played a significant role in a Pennsylvania sexual assault. It is expect that as more individuals use these devices, there will be more relevant evidence located on these devices.