by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
Now there’s a headline I never expected to see! It’s from an article posted at NetworkWorld. Here are the details:
59-year-old homeowner Ross Compton was arrested and charged with felony aggravated arson and insurance fraud. The cause of the fire was still undetermined, but it had resulted $400,000 in damages to the house and contents of the 2,000-square-foot home.
Fire investigators knew there had been “multiple points of origin of the fire from the outside of the residence.” At the time, the police cited inconsistencies in Compton’s statements when compared with the evidence from the fire. …
Police set out to disprove Compton’s story about the fire by obtaining a search warrant to collect data from Compton’s pacemaker. WLWT5 reported that the cops wanted to know “Compton’s heart rate, pacer demand and cardiac rhythms before, during and after the fire.”
On Friday, Jan. 27, the Journal-News reported that court documents stated: “A cardiologist who reviewed that data determined ‘it is highly improbable Mr. Compton would have been able to collect, pack and remove the number of items from the house, exit his bedroom window and carry numerous large and heavy items to the front of his residence during the short period of time he has indicated due to his medical conditions.’”
Middletown Police said this was the first time it had used data from a heart device to make an arrest, but the pacemaker data proved to be an “excellent investigative tool;” the data from the pacemaker didn’t correspond with Compton’s version of what happened. The retrieved data help to indict Compton.
Lt. Jimmy Cunningham told WLWT5, “It was one of the key pieces of evidence that allowed us to charge him.”