After Fla. Woman Is Impaled by a Spear, Police Seek Clues From Amazon Alexa Recordings
Police are analyzing Echo voice data to determine how Sylvia Galva was killed during a fight with her partner
Alexa is becoming an increasingly popular witness when it comes to investigating a crime.
Florida police are trying to find out what – if anything – the voice-controlled Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers (commonly known as “Alexa”) heard on July 12 when a Hallandale Beach woman died during a fight with her boyfriend. The incident left her impaled by a spear and him charged with murder, the South Florida SunSentinel reports.
Silvia Galva, 32, and Adam Reechard Crespo, 43, who is reportedly either her boyfriend or husband, were allegedly fighting in their condo after a night out. Crespo told police he was trying to pull Galva off the bed when she grabbed a spear that snapped and pierced her chest as he continued to pull her up, the Sun Sentinel reports.
Crespo then told police he pulled the blade out of the victim’s chest, hoping it was “not too bad,” the Sun Sentinel reports.
The defendant’s actions, the police report goes on to say, “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.”
Crespo was arrested and charged with murder without premeditation, the SunSentinel reports.
He pleaded not guilty. He is free on $65,000 bond while he awaits his next court date.
In August, Hallandale Beach Police obtained a search warrant for the recordings on two of the Amazon voice assistants that were in the apartment where Galva was killed, the Sun Sentinel reports.
The search warrant, later obtained by CBS Miami, 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.”
Amazon turned over recordings to the authorities, who are analyzing the data, Hallandale Beach Police Department spokesman Sgt. Pedro Abut told the Sun Sentinel.
“It is believed that evidence of crimes, audio recordings capturing the attack on victim Silvia Crespo that occurred in the main bedroom … may be found on the server maintained by or for Amazon,” police wrote in their probable cause statement seeking the warrant, the Sun Sentinel reports.
Still, it’s unclear how much information the recordings will yield.
The smart speakers work only when users utter the word “Alexa” or a “wake” word of their choice and don’t usually record entire conversations, an Amazon spokesperson told the Sun Sentinel.
The Hallandale Beach Police Department spokesperson did not immediately return PEOPLE’s call for comment.
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Crespo’s attorney, Christopher O’Toole, told PEOPLE he feels the recordings can only bolster the case of his client, who he says is innocent.
“Ordinarily we would have a problem with recordings coming out, but in this particular case, we believe our client is innocent and that these will help our client,” he says. “They will show he had nothing to do with this and called 911 and tried to save her life.”