Technology Fitbit

Fitbit data incriminates man accused of killing his wife


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

April 26, 2017 | 3 min read

Data collected by a fitness tracker Fitbit has contributed to a Connecticut murder investigation, drawing suspicion upon the alibi of the lead suspect.


The Fitbit Charge

Richard Dabate stands accused of killing his wife at their home in 2015. He said that an intruder broke into the building and shot her dead.

His account was reportedly brought into doubt when police accessed both his, and his wife Connie’s, movements using the device.

He told the police that a masked person broke into their home at 9am 23 December 2015, whereupon he was momentarily disabled when the intruder assaulted his pressure points. Connie was then shot by the intruder with Dabate’s personal gun before Richard gave chase to the assailant with a blowtorch.

Connie’s Fitbit pedometer found that she moved around for up to an hour after the murder was alleged to have taken place. Furthermore, his claims that she died as she arrived home from the gym are brought into disrepute in the knowledge that she travelled 1,200ft since returning, after making a 125ft journey from her car, the Guardian cites from police documents.

Pennsylvania DA Craig Stedman told the Hartford Courant: “To say it is rare to use Fitbit records would be safe. It is an electronic footprint that tracks your movements. It is a great tool for investigators to use.”

Using the device, investigators were able to breakdown Connie’s movements. Emails sent to by Richard, the fact there are no signs of forced entry on the premises and the fact he attempted to cash Connie’s life insurance days later on 28 December raise further suspicions. Investigators also suspect the marriage was “in trouble” with Debate telling a pregnant girlfriend that a divorce was imminent a month before the murder.

The case continues on 28 April.

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