Cellphone Data Forensics Expert Discusses Murder Case


Cell Phone Forensics Expert WitnessThis case involves the murder of a young man at the hands of his ex-girlfriend who had recently been released from jail. The woman was required to stay in a halfway house as a condition of her parole, which had been granted after she had served part of a sentence for aggravated assault. During her stay, she allegedly made contact with her ex-boyfriend via cell phone on several occasions and had made multiple threats against his life. The boyfriend notified the halfway house of the threatening contact, however it continued to persist. Eventually, the woman found the boyfriend at a friends home, where she shot him to death. An expert in cellular data forensics was requested to review the perpetrator’s cell phone records and determine he location when the threatening messages were sent.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please describe your experience performing forensic analysis and data retrieval from cell phones, with specific regards to location data.

Expert Witness Response E-020691

I have routinely conducted mobile forensic data acquisition and analysis in cases ranging from serious felonies to civil domestic disputes to employment matters. Location data is frequently included in the forensic data extraction and, if relevant to the particular case, is analyzed and validated for accuracy. Location data with regard to calls, texts and emails may or may not be stored on the mobile device, but with most areas of data on mobile devices, it depends on the device, the operating system and the user. Location data is kept with the cellular provider in the form of call detail records which are obtained through court order to the cellular provider. There are some exceptions to this, however, such as wi-fi calls and correlating wireless internet connections (which may contain location information) to the dates and times of emails and text messages sent. Location information is also routinely stored as part of picture and video metadata if the user has not turned off this feature.

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