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Google search plays key role in murder case

A Mac specialist on trial for murdering his wife is accused by prosecutors of carrying out a Google search for the words “neck snap break" before her death.

Prosecutors also claim that Robert Petrick, visited a site called bloodfest666, downloaded a document called "22 ways to kill a man with your bare hands” and researched at least 10 websites for the depth and topography of the lake where the body of his wife, Janine Sutphin, was found, according to TechWeb (opens in new tab) and local news site WRAL.

Petrick dismissed his lawyer to represent himself, and cross-examined a prosecution computer forensics expert over the trail of digital evidence found on nearly a dozen computers seized from Petrick's home.

"I think he knew more about MacIntosh computers than the state's witness did. I'm not sure how much the jury caught, but he seemed to be pretty pleased," Petrick’s attorney, Mark Edwards, is quoted as saying on Techweb.

Whether Google had any direct role in the investigation is not clear although Petrick’s attorney points out that the search evidence has only just come up after two years of investigation.