FBI to help unlock iPhone and iPod involved in Arkansas homicide case

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When Apple refused to unlock an iPhone for the FBI, it generated a huge amount of free positive advertising about how secure their devices were.  However, the tech giant has now been left with egg on it’s face and the repercussions could be huge.

Only days after the federal agency announced it had gained access to an iPhone linked to the gunman in a mass shooting in California, the FBI has agreed to help an Arkansas prosecutor unlock an iPhone and iPod belonging to two teenagers accused of killing a couple.

Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said the FBI agreed to the request from his office and the Conway Police Department Wednesday afternoon. A judge on Tuesday agreed to postpone the trial of 18-year-old Hunter Drexler so prosecutors could ask the FBI for help. Drexler’s trial was moved from next week to June 27.

Drexler and 15-year-old Justin Staton are accused of killing Robert and Patricia Cogdell at their home in Conway, 30 miles north of Little Rock, in July. The Cogdells had raised Staton as their grandson.

Patrick Benca, Drexler’s attorney, confirmed that he was notified that the FBI had agreed to help unlock his client’s phone.

“We’re not concerned about anything on that phone,” Benca said.

Prosecutors have had possession of the iPhone they say belongs to Drexler since he and two other teenagers were arrested in Texas and brought back to Arkansas days after the July shootings. Staton’s defense attorney was ordered last week to hand over the teen’s iPod, which was in the defense’s evidence locker.

Prosecutors said recorded phone conversations between Staton and others since his arrest indicated he had used the iPod to communicate about the homicide plans and that there may be other evidence on the device.

What is now beyond dispute is the fact that the FBI has now indicated it can act without Apple’s help in two separate instances that should be concerning to both the Cupertino giant and their users.

Via

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