Anthony Aiello, 90, is accused of murdering his stepdaughter Karen Navarra in San Jose.

San Jose Police Department

Police Say Fitbit Data Shows 90-Year-Old Killed Stepdaughter

Matt Bigler
October 04, 2018 - 1:30 pm

SAN JOSE — Data from Fitbit allegedly helped San Jose police identify a 90-year-old man as his stepdaughter's killer. 

On Thursday, Anthony Aiello appeared in court. He's denied that he killed Karen Navarra in September, but authorities say that the fitness device tells a different story. 

Navarra, 67, was discovered deceased on September 13 in a chair in her home with a knife in her hand, lethal cuts to her head and neck, and a Fitbit on her wrist. Police concluded her body was positioned to look like she killed herself. 

During an investigation, authorities learned that Aiello had delivered a pizza and biscotti to Navarra on September 8. Security camera footage showed that his wife's car was parked outside Navarra's house on that afternoon. 

Meanwhile, her Fitbit recorded that her heart rate spiked that same afternoon. Eight minutes later it stopped — apparently at the time of death. That was all minutes before surveillance footage showed that the car Aiello used had left the house. 

Authorities might have had difficulty pinpointing Navarra's time of death because days had elapsed before her remains were discovered, according to former Santa Clara County prosecutor Steven Clark. 

"A lot of times, autopsies are done many days later and you really have to estimate times of death, but this Fitbit information is real time. Using that in this way is going to be key in establishing the time of death," Clark said to KCBS Radio. "The DA won't just rely on Fitbit, but it is a very important piece of this information." 

Such data from Fitbit and smart-home products like an Amazon Echo have been used in other criminal investigations, according to The Verge.

A subsequent search of Aiello's home turned up blood-stained clothing, according to police. 

No motive has been given for the alleged murder. 

The case will return to court on October 29.