Siri query shown in murder trial
A Florida man stands accused of killing a friend. Early reports inaccurately suggested that he might have performed a Siri search about how to hide a body, but other evidence from the defendant's phone is being used in court.
Correction, 12:45 p.m. PT: The original version of this story was based on inaccurate information. Aguilar and Bravo were not roommates, and police did not testify that the Siri search had been performed on Bravo's phone. The search image was found in an image cache from Facebook.
A Florida man stands accused of killing his friend, and the defendant's cell phone is playing a role in the resulting murder trial. The accused, Pedro Bravo, allegedly killed Christian Aguilar in 2012. Several pieces of data from Bravo's iPhone were being presented as evidence on Tuesday.
One such piece of evidence was an apparent screengrab of someone asking Siri how to hide "my roommate."
According to WUFT in Gainesville, Fla., the Siri image was from the phone's Facebook cache. It shows Siri responding to the statement by asking what type of place the questioner was looking for, with swamps, reservoirs, metal foundries, and dumps as the top four recommended spots.
CBS Miami reports that Gainesville police department Detective Matthew Goeckel was asked whether this was evidence that the defendant had performed this search and had been "looking for some information online for needing to hide his roommate." Goeckel agreed that it was not.
Other data from his phone was considered more compelling evidence, however. Goeckel testified regarding pings from Bravo's cell phone, indicating his location on the day of Aguilar's disappearance. That night, according to the testimony, "the signal disappeared for nearly 5 and a half hours" though the phone was still on, which he said indicates it was "intentionally disconnected from the network."
Goeckel also testified that the phone's flashlight app was used for nearly an hour, which prosecutors suggested would have been useful in the woods where Aguilar was found.
For the curious, Siri actually no longer provides a response when asked about hiding a body, instead saying she "used to know the answer to this." That's probably for the best.