Man Butt Dials 911 While Discussing Murder Plot

from the those-phones-are-getting-smarter-all-the-time dept

We’ve had plenty of stories of dumb criminals being caught in surprising ways thanks to new technology. Particularly common are the criminals who confess via the internet. However, this next one is a new one: a Florida man named Scott Simon just happened to butt dial 911 at the very moment he was discussing plans to kill someone — plans he followed through on moments later. It did not take long for the police to put two and two together and arrest Simon — though, they’re still looking for others who were with him. Of all the possible places that the phone could have accidentally dialed, it seems rather convenient that 911 was what it ended up on. Those “smartphones” really can be smart sometimes.

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Comments on “Man Butt Dials 911 While Discussing Murder Plot”

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27 Comments
Griffdog (profile) says:

not so unusual

I carry my blackberry in my front pocket with the keyboard locked, and I still manage to butt dial 911 nearly every month. The phone allows making an “Emergency Call” even when it’s supposed to be “locked”, a feature that cannot be disabled. Doesn’t require pushing any of the keyboard buttons, just the big roller ball. I’m sure it’s supposed to be a “feature,” but it’s sure embarrassing when a very loud voice comes from my pocket asking me the nature of my emergency. Happened three times in one hour, once. I’ve since learned of a second way to lock the phone, but it gets disabled after receiving a call, so I still make an occassional accidental call to 911 when I forget to re-engage the lockout.

David Muir (profile) says:

The last thing we need is the 911 call centers clogged up with even more “non-emergency” calls. It is already a real problem when people dial on purpose and want to complain about their neighbor’s dog barking for the last three hours. Of course it’s okay if the nature of the call is: “If that dog doesn’t shut up I will kill myself and then the rest of the neighborhood. Or something.”

Mr. Applegate says:

Re: 911

Well to be fair, apparently it did lead to quick apprehension of the criminal who performed the act. I don’t believe the ends in this case justify monitoring everyone’s communications though.

What you are talking about (preventing the crime) is something movies are made of (Minority Report), and even in the movies it proved to be a bad idea to punish people for what they think about doing.

Mr. Applegate says:

Re: Re: Re: 911

I wouldn’t call “Protect and Serve” a gimmick. I don’t think it means what it used to mean either.

You have to remember that cell phones are not like land lines, there is no known service address. So depending on several factors including the exact model of the phone, and what features are turned on, the equipment that the 911 system utilized – and even the location where the call took place the information immediately available could be quite limited. There is no “respond here” address.

They may well have had to contact the carrier to get the owner information, as well as triangulation information, which depending on location may yield an area as big as two or three city blocks for them to search. Granted they can do this fairly quickly, but it still takes time and according to the article the 911 called occurred just moments before the murder.

I am not saying they couldn’t have arrested him before he committed the murder, but they couldn’t have charged him with murder either, only conspiracy to commit. I am also saying depending on location and equipment available to the local PD it could take time to locate the phone that made the call.

It simply is not realistic to say, “they received the call they should have prevented the murder”.

Think of it like baseball. You know the batter is going to hit the ball, but the other team doesn’t always catch the ball. Sometime the batter even gets a home run.

Doug D (profile) says:

Re: Why didn't they prevent it?

As the pro-gun argument goes, “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.” As I don’t know any of the circumstances I’m not saying the victim owning a gun would have prevented this murder, but the cops knew it was going to happen and still were only able to get there after the fact.

cosmicrat (profile) says:

Could be a technique for law enforcement

Given how easy it is to butt dial 911 on certain phones, I’m almost certain that is the case here. But it raises a question. Could the police (or FBI, CIA, Blackwater, etc.) be listening on a phone, in which case such evidence is not admissible in court (unless warranted) and then, at a crucial moment, remotely trigger the phone to dial 911, thus capturing a recording that would be admissible? The defendant would have a hard time proving he didn’t butt dial.

BTW I know Blackwater changed their name to Xe and most recently to Academi. Blackwater just sounds so much cooler.

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