Apple Watch May Have Blown Murder Alibi

John Lister's picture

A murder suspect's alibi has been thrown into doubt by data on the victim's Apple Watch. The smartwatch appears to show the victim died much earlier than the suspect claims.

Caroline Nilsson is accused of killing her mother-in-law Myrna Nilsson in 2016. Police were called to the house just after 10 pm when a neighbor saw Caroline come out of the house wearing a gag. Myrna was found dead inside the home.

In her defense, Caroline claims that her mother-in-law was followed home by a group of men in a utility vehicle and argued with them outside for 20 minutes. Caroline claims she was in her mother-in-law's kitchen at the time of the incident, and ambushed by the men soon after. She claims to have not heard her mother-in-law's struggle and believes Myrna died some time before the men discovered Caroline in the kitchen. She claims to have freed herself immediately after the men left the scene at 10 pm.

Watch Implies Time Of Death

Police gathered data from the victim's Apple Watch, which includes a timeline of the wearer's heart rate and movements. They found that she arrived home at a little after 6:30 pm. Based on the changes in her movements, she was attacked around 6:38 pm, with her body going into shock before she lost unconsciousness. The data shows she died around 6:45 pm.

Prosecutors say this data contradicts the defendant's account of events. They argue that she carried out the murder and then spent the next few hours trying to hide any evidence, then staged the home invasion before going outside to raise the alarm.

The case is ongoing and the defendant has been charged with murder and remanded pending a court hearing in June. (Source:

Home Speaker Could Have Been Evidence

This is not the first time home gadget data has played a role in criminal cases.

In 2016, Arkansas Police asked Amazon for a copy of data from a murder suspect's Echo smart speaker. While it was a long shot, the device would have captured audio at the time of the alleged murder, which might help confirm or disprove movements during the evening in question.

Amazon refused to hand over the details without a court order, but the defendant gave permission for it to provide the data, meaning a court never ruled on whether Amazon could be forced to comply with the request. Prosecutors later decided to drop the murder charge. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Is the watch case a sensible use of technology? Is there a risk juries could place too much weight on such data? Could criminals try to tamper with gadget data to hide their guilt or create a false alibi?

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