Police use data found on slain woman's Fitbit in murder case against husband
Data showing the actions of a woman in the days, hours and minutes leading up to her murder at her Connecticut home — including her movements logged on her Fitbit — will show her husband was allegedly behind the brutal killing, according to police.
Connie Dabate, 39, was found shot dead in the Ellington home she shared with her two children and husband, Richard Dabate, on December 23, 2015.
She had been shot twice, including once in the back of the head, and her body was discovered in the basement.
First responders found her husband upstairs in the kitchen where he had one arm and one leg zip-tied to a folding chair. He only suffered superficial knife wounds, authorities said.
Richard Dabate, 40, told investigators that a masked man with a deep voice like "Vin Diesel's" shot his wife and tied him up before he was able to burn the intruder with a torch, according to the warrant first obtained by the Harford Courant.
There were no signs of forced entry or a struggle in the home, nothing was stolen and three separate K-9 officers were unable to pick up any scent but Richard Dabate's, the warrant filed by Connecticut State Police said.
Investigators also said that witness statements, text messages pulled from cell phones, information from social media, computers, the home's alarm system, as well as data from the victim's Fitbit contradict Richard Dabate's initial statements to police, the warrant said.
The night before her death, Connie Dabate confronted her husband through text message about an unexpected cable television bill, accusing him of lying to her, the warrant said.
"... You lied to me and I am again cleaning g(sic) up your f****** mess!" Connie Dabate's text apparently said, going on to say: "Great day off and merry f****** Christmas!"
"It will be a very Merry Christmas," Richard Dabate apparently replied. "Just give me a call when you're ready."
Numerous witnesses said they didn't recall Connie Dabate ever discussing problems in her marriage or planning to leave her husband, but police recovered a December 2014 entry in the "Notes" on her cellphone listing reasons she wanted a divorce.
In the nearly 500-word note, Connie Dabate reportedly wrote: "He takes money from a lot of accounts that don't belong to him, says he is sorry, but takes no responsibility for it," and claims "I don't know anything about his day, who he speaks to or what goes on in his life other than work.
In a 53-word note listing "the good," in their relationship, Connie Dabate wrote: "People like him, when he is in a great mood he is fun to be around, I still find him attractive, I'm myself around him."
The warrant claims that Richard Dabate used a credit card that his wife did not know about to pay for flowers for his pregnant girlfriend, stays at a Motel 6 and to spend more than $1,200 at a strip club.
Richard Dabate's unidentified on-again off-again girlfriend of seven years told detectives that he said he was going to serve his wife with divorce papers in mid-December of 2015, and while he spoke to a lawyer, he never filed those papers, the warrant said.
The other woman was about seven months pregnant at the time of Connie Dabate's murder, according to the warrant.
The day before the killing, Richard Dabate allegedly texted her: "I'll see you tomorrow my little love nugget."
Richard Dabate allegedly told investigators his wife knew about his affair and the pregnancy, and that since she was unable to have another child, he did some "untraditional things," got his girlfriend pregnant, and all three adults planned to co-parent the child, the warrant said.
He said the pregnancy was his wife's idea, "in a way," police said.
But those close to Connie Dabate said she would never have been okay with such an arrangement, that to their knowledge, she was still able to have children, and that she would have been angry to find out her husband was allegedly cheating.
Richard Dabate later said the pregnancy was an accident, the warrant said.
Detectives said they used data from Dabate home's alarm system, their computers, cellphones and Connie Dabate's Fitbit to construct a timeline of events of the day she was murdered.
"No evidence was found to indicate that [Richard] Dabate left the residence during the morning of 12-23-15," as opposed to his claim that he had left for work and returned home after receiving a notification that their alarm system had been triggered, the warrant said.
The gun used to kill Connie Dabate belonged to her husband, and a swabbing of its handle grip found Richard Dabate's DNA, along with the DNA of an unidentified person, the warrant said. Richard Dabate's shirt he was wearing the morning of the killing had gunshot residue on it, but a gunshot residue test conducted on his hands were negative, according to authorities.
Five days after his wife's murder, Richard Dabate put in a claim for her $475,000 life insurance policy, and withdrew nearly $93,000 from an investment account in her name, police said.
Richard Dabate was arrested this month and charged with murder, tampering with evidence and making a false statement.
He was released on bail last week and ordered to turn in his passport. He is due in court on April 28.
"My client is innocent of these charges and he looks forward to being vindicated after a trial," Richard Dabate's attorney Hubert Santos said in a statement to the Hartford Courant.