A man has been charged with the murder of his wife in the US after investigators say her Fitbit told them his account of her death doesn’t add up.
Richard Dabate, 41, was found on the floor of his kitchen, bloodied, stabbed and lashed to a chair with zip ties two days before Christmas, 2015 in the US state of Connecticut, The Washington Post reports.
Mr Dabate told authorities a man in a mask with a “Vin Diesel” voice killed his wife Connie, 39, in front of him and tortured him but police combed the area and found no suspect and no witnesses.
Dogs brought in also found no scent trails.
Police noticed Mrs Dabate was wearing a Fitbit and have been able to recreate a minute-by-minute account of her final movements using the home’s alarm systems, Facebook, cell phones, email and a key fob, casting doubt over whether Mr Dabate has been telling the truth.
Mr Dabate said he got an alert from his phone on the morning of his wife’s death that his home’s alarm had been triggered and returned home from work after emailing his boss. He arrived between 8.45am and 9am.
He told investigators he found the intruder inside the walk-in closet of the master bedroom. The intruder then demanded his wallet at knifepoint.
The mother-of-two returned from an exercise class and her husband said he told her to run. Mr Dabate said she fled to the basement and the intruder followed.
He said he found the intruder with a gun pointed as his wife’s head, which Mrs Dabate must have removed from a safe to defend herself.
Mr Dabate said he charged at the man but he pulled the trigger and shot Mrs Dabate in the back of the head.
The intruder then tied Mr Dabate to a chair and jabbed him with a box cutter. He also started a fire in a cardboard box using a blowtorch, which he then used on Mr Dabate’s ankle.
Mr Dabate said he was able to crawl upstairs with the chair tied to him and activated the panic alarm.
But the Fitbit’s data tells a different story.
The device showed Mrs Dabate had walked 370m after returning home from her exercise class, far more than the 38m it would take her to go from the car in the garage to the basement in Mr Dabate’s account.
It also registered that Mrs Dabate moved an hour after her husband said she was killed before 9.10am. Facebook also showed she made a post at 9.46am.
The home alarm system indicated Mr Dabate used a key fob to activate his home alarm system from his basement at 8.50am and then disabled it at 8.59am at the same location. Detectives now doubt he left his house at all on the day of Mrs Dabate’s death.
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An IP address showed Mr Dabate also sent the email to his boss from his home.
Police obtained a warrant for Mr Dabate’s arrest in April and will allege he concocted a story to cover up his plan to kill his wife and run away with his mistress - a childhood sweetheart he’d allegedly been having an affair with for seven years.
The case is currently in pre-trial motions.
Mr Dabate's bond is currently at US$1 million.