Fitbit is key evidence in Connecticut murder case

A Connecticut man is accused of killing his wife and her Fitbit activity tracker is expected to be a key piece of evidence against him.

Jury selection in the murder trial of Richard Dabate is underway.

Debate says a masked man shot his wife, Connie Dabate, and tied him up before he burned the intruder with a torch at the couple's Ellington home on Dec. 23, 2015. The couple's two young sons were in school at the time.

But police say information on Connie Dabate’s Fitbit contradicts his story, showing she was moving around and logging steps an hour after he said she was killed.

Tolland State’s Attorney Matthew Gedansky has said he believes Richard Dabate’s motive for the crime was concern about a potential divorce and alienating family and friends. Authorities said Richard Dabate had affairs, including one with a woman who was pregnant at the time of the killing.

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Dabate faces murder, tampering with evidence, and making a false statement charges in the fatal shooting of his 39-year-old wife.

The defense is trying to get the Fitbit data thrown from the case but criminal defense lawyer James Kousouros, who is not involved with the trial, says there is a problem with trying to suppress it.

"It's not his Fitbit.  And because it's not his Fitbit, he does not have an expectation of privacy," Koursouros says.

His lawyer, Trent LaLima, has said evidence of the affairs was "just an attempt to dirty up Mr. Dabate’s reputation."

A jury had been picked for the case in early 2020, before state courts shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. A judge dismissed that jury last August, saying it had been empaneled too long and some jurors had moved out of state.

Dabate remains free on $1 million bail. Relatives have said the boys are living with other family members.