In 2000, teenager Vernon Horn was convicted for a January 1999 robbery and murder at a New Haven, CT neighborhood convenience store. The primary evidence allegedly linking Vernon Horn to the crime scene was a record of calls made from a cell phone stolen during the robbery. The State had no physical evidence linking Vernon Horn to the crime scene.
17 years later cell site records were used to set aside the conviction. Those records were located in the basement of a retired police detective and had never been disclosed to the defense.
New evaluation of the cell phone call record established that, based on the location of the cell phone at the time of the calls, combined with which cell site towers they used, Vernon Horn could not have committed the robbery and homicide. The new evaluation showed the first call was made from Bridgeport, CT while Vernon Horn was in New Haven, CT speaking with a police officer. The cell site evidence also showed all five of the phone calls in question were made from Bridgeport.
The physical address of each cell site and its orientation could have been obtained by the original defense team at the time simply by requesting that information through a subpoena to the cellular service provider, specifically the call detail and cell site records. This case is a good example of the need for early assessment and collection cellular service provider records and the need for defense teams to have an up-to-date cellular service provider subpoena guide and retention schedule. See IRIS LLC Post http://bit.ly/2GgZpG7 See Newspaper Article http://bit.ly/2KKw5ep
Information and tools to aid Public Defenders in pre-trial or post-conviction cases can be found through The Digital Evidence Innocence Initiative http://bit.ly/2X2k5LD , as well as, the IRIS LLC Digital Evidence Case Assessment Method http://bit.ly/2JYiEqz, a tool to assist in the collection and organization of digital evidence.