Source | www.technologyreview.com | Brian Bergstein
Soon after Devon Godfrey was shot to death in his apartment in Harlem on the evening of April 12, 2010, officers with the New York Police Department thought they knew who did it. Security cameras had captured a man entering and exiting the apartment around the time that they thought Godfrey was killed. They arrested the suspect on a charge of murder.
At that point in a case, prosecutors in New York have less than a week to gather the facts needed to persuade a grand jury to indict the suspect. So the prosecutor on this case, Jordan Arnold of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, worked through a weekend to dig deeper into the evidence.
Cell phones had been found in Godfrey’s apartment, including an iPhone that was locked by its passcode. Arnold recalls doing what he always did in homicides back then: he obtained a search warrant for the phone and put a detective on a plane to Cupertino, California. The detective would wait in Apple’s headquarters and return with the data Arnold needed. Meanwhile, investigators looked more closely at the apartment building’s surveillance video, and Arnold examined records sent by Godfrey’s wireless carrier of when calls and texts were last made on the phones.