Ex-Computer Consultant Convicted In 'Google Murder' Trial - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
News
News
11/30/2005
11:00 AM
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Building Security for the IoT
Nov 09, 2017
In this webcast, experts discuss the most effective approaches to securing Internet-enabled system ...Read More>>

Ex-Computer Consultant Convicted In 'Google Murder' Trial

The guilty verdict of first-degree murder was won in part on evidence based on Google searches found on Robert Petrick's computer.

In a murder trial featuring evidence of Google searches, jurors late Tuesday found former computer consultant Robert Petrick guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of his wife. He will serve a life sentence without possibility of parole. Prosecutors hadn't sought the death penalty.

Petrick, who represented himself during the North Carolina trial, is expected to appeal and has requested a court appointed lawyer. Jurors rejected Petrick's attempts to convince them that Google searches for the words "neck," "snap," "break," and "hold," uncovered on his hard drive, were done by another user.

Petrick also failed to persuade jurors that all the evidence against him was circumstantial and that prosecutors hadn't proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he killed Janine Sutphen and dumped her body in a Raleigh-area lake.

Prosecutors had seized several computers from Petrick's home after Sutphen, a concert cellist, disappeared in January 2003. They used evidence collected from the hard drives to make their case. Internet histories showed that showing someone used Google to search the terms neck, snap break and hold and reviewed a document entitled "22 Ways to Kill a Man With Your Bare Hands." They also said that someone had researched body decomposition and the topography of the lake where Sutphen's body was found.

Petrick, who's already in prison on fraud charges, pointed out that the searches weren't linked to a user name and therefore couldn't be pinned on him. He said his wife could have looked up some of the material because she had studied martial arts. He said someone who liked to fish or sail could have looked up the lake information. Investigators said they couldn't find other fishing or sailing-related searches.

Several witnesses testified that Petrick had a history of affairs, financial problems and deceit, which prosecutors said could have motivated Petrick to kill.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll