A VOICE NOT JUST AN ECHO: Speaker recordings could help murder investigation.

40/29 reports that prosecutors in Bentonville have dropped prosecution of a murder that received national attention for efforts to use information from an Amazon Echo as evidence.

This means the dismissal of a murder charge against James Andrew Bates, charged in the 2015 death of Victor Collins. He was found dead in a hot tub in Bates’ home. A medical examiner’s report said he seemed to have been in a fight and died from strangulation and drowning.

Advertisement

Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith told 40/29 he plans for the case to be dismissed without prejudice, because the evidence can support more than one reasonable explanation.

The charge could be refiled.

During the pre-trial process, a judge issued a search warrant for all Amazon recordings from an Echo device in Bates’ home during the time under investigation. That spurred coverage of the implications for a new way for authorities to dig into personal privacy, though prosecutors said it was no different from being able to search phone or bank records.

Advertisement

Help to Keep Great Journalism Alive in Arkansas

Arkansas Times needs to raise $25,000 to help fund our new agriculture and environment reporter, who comes to us with help from Report For America. Without a dedicated agriculture reporter, the stories of our state’s primary industry and its 243,000 workers remain untold. This isn’t just about news—it’s about recognizing the backbone of Arkansas’s economy. Every dollar you donate helps us reach our goal and keeps agriculture at the forefront of our community conversation. Act now; the stories of 19 million acres of forest and countless hardworking Arkansans depend on it.

Previous article Pothole alert: Law firm maps every one in Little Rock Next article Garrison Keillor fired by Minnesota Public Radio