'Google Murder' Trial Nearing Conclusion

Prosecutors have found more computer evidence in the trial of a computer consultant accused of killing his wife and dumping her body into a lake; the case could go before

November 30, 2005

2 Min Read
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Update: Jurors late Tuesday found former computer consultant Robert Petrick guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of his wife.

Prosecutors have found more computer evidence in the trial of a computer consultant accused of killing his wife and dumping her body into a lake.

After resting their case, prosecutors requested and received permission Tuesday to present additional information to jurors deliberating the fate of Robert Petrick in North Carolina. Petrick is charged with first degree murder.

Authorities seized several computers from Petrick's home after concert cellist Janine Sutphen went missing in January 2003. They have used evidence retrieved from hard drives to make their case.

Among the more sensational things alleged in court were Internet histories on the hard drives showing Google searches for the words neck, snap, break and hold, a record of instruction on "22 Ways to Kill a Man With Your Bare Hands" and research into the underwater topography of the Raleigh-area lake where Sutphen's decomposed body was found.Petrick, who is representing himself, has tried in court to demonstrate that the searches could have been done by anyone, including his wife, who he said had been a martial arts student.

New computer evidence centers on alleged searches about body decomposition, according to WRAL, a local television station airing streaming Web video of the trial.

Prosecutors questioned several witnesses, including women who said they had sexual relationships with Petrick while his wife was still alive. They tried to prove that relationship and financial troubles motivated him to kill his wife. One woman said he had told her his wife died of cancer while he was still alive. One said she was engaged to Petrick and had no idea he was married. An ex-girlfriend said he had spent all of her money years ago.

Both sides are expected to rest their cases in the trial on Wednesday.

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