FBI Agrees to Help Arkansas Prosecutor Unlock iPhone and iPod in Homicide Case

The FBI has agreed to help an Arkansas prosecutor unlock an iPhone and iPod that belong to two teenagers accused of killing a couple, reports the Associated Press. The move comes days after the FBI announced that it had unlocked the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone.

iphone6s

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.

Hiland said the FBI agreed to help less than a day after the initial request was made. "We always appreciate their cooperation and willingness to help their local law enforcement partners," Hiland said. Patrick Benca, Drexler's attorney, said he was notified the FBI agreed to help and that he was "not concerned about anything on that phone."

The prosecuting attorney said that they had heard the FBI had been able to unlock the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone and wanted to see if they could help, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Drexler, along with 15-year-old Justin Staton, are accused of killing Robert and Patricia Cogdell last July. The couple raised Staton as their grandson. After the two teens were arrested in Texas and brought to Arkansas shortly after the shootings, prosecutors gained possession of Drexler's iPhone. Last week, Staton's defense attorney was ordered to hand over his iPod, which was in the defense attorney's evidence locker.

Prosecutors argue that Staton had indicated on phone calls that he had used his iPod to communicate about the murders and that further evidence might be on the device. It’s unclear which iPhone and iPod the suspects used and which iOS version they’re running.

An FBI official told the LA Times that the FBI is unlikely use the tool that was used to unlock the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone for criminal prosecutions because the method could be discovered during a trial. Furthermore, the method used to unlock that phone might not work with other phones, according to the official.

“In a criminal case, if the FBI uses a technique, there’s going to be questions about divulging that technique or chain of custody to the defense," Eric Crocker, Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney, told the LA Times. "So my instinct is this might be something different.”

Last week, shortly after the Department of Justice said that it discovered a "possible method" for unlocking the San Bernardino shooter's device, it was reported that the FBI enlisted Israeli firm Cellebrite to unlock it.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

Report: These 10 New AI Features Are Coming in iOS 18

Sunday May 26, 2024 12:57 pm PDT by
iOS 18 and macOS 15 will offer an array of new AI features such as auto-generated emojis, suggested replies to emails and messages, and more, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports. A significant portion of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is expected to focus on AI features. Writing his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explained that Apple's AI strategy emphasizes providing...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New AirPods Pro 2 Firmware

Tuesday May 28, 2024 11:46 am PDT by
Apple today released new firmware update for both the Lightning and USB-C versions of the AirPods Pro 2. The new firmware is version 6F7, up from the 6B34 firmware released in November. Apple does not provide details on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware beyond "bug fixes and other improvements," so it is unclear what's new in the update. Apple does not give...
new best buy blue

Best Buy's Memorial Day Sale Has Record Low Prices on iPads, MacBooks, and Much More

Friday May 24, 2024 7:12 am PDT by
Best Buy today kicked off its Memorial Day weekend sale, and it has some of the best prices we've tracked in weeks on iPads and MacBooks. Specifically, you'll find record low prices on the 5th generation iPad Air, iPad mini 6, M2 MacBook Air, and M3 MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
iOS 18 WWDC 24 Feature 2

Gurman: iOS 18 Will Allow Users to Recolor App Icons and Place Them Anywhere

Sunday May 26, 2024 12:22 pm PDT by
Apple's iOS 18 update will introduce new features for further customizing the iPhone's home screen, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman claimed that Apple will allow users to change the color of app icons in iOS 18. For example, "you can make all your social icons blue or finance-related ones green." This kind of home screen...
iPad Pro Landscape Apple Logo Feature

Apple Says Future iPads Could Feature Landscape Apple Logo

Monday May 27, 2024 6:31 am PDT by
French website Numerama interviewed three senior Apple employees about the new iPad Pro models that launched earlier this month. While the discussion did not reveal many new details, it did mention one potential change for future iPads. While the Apple logo on the back of iPads is positioned so that it appears upright in vertical orientation, the devices are often used in landscape...

Top Rated Comments

dannyyankou Avatar
107 months ago
"Just this one phone"
Score: 121 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
107 months ago
I think Apple needs to get to work building a stronger encrypted OS.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
D.T. Avatar
107 months ago
Attorney: "OK, we're at the screen asking for the passcode."

FBI: "Good, good, type 1 2 3 4 5 6"

Attorney: "We're in!"

FBI: "Excellent, don't tell anybody else the secret ..."
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mariusignorello Avatar
107 months ago
Lock iOS down so tight even Apple can't hack their own OS. But really, "just this one phone". A load of BS.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Renzatic Avatar
107 months ago
So, do you guys turn on the option to erase the phone after so many failed tries?
There are ways around that. Any decently equipped law enforcement agency that deals with things like homicide and terrorist activities will have ways to clone the contents of a phone's memory to another drive, and then copy it back to the source when they need to.

See, I don't have a problem with local law asking the FBI for help cracking a phone. That's a part of law enforcement. The biggest issue was that the FBI asked Apple for a backdoor, an easy way to crack into every iPhone they come across. That's wrong for a slew of reasons that are entirely separate from this.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rob198612 Avatar
107 months ago
and it starts! now the FBI starts unlocking countless of phones. can't wait for apple to make IOS even stronger
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)