They were supposed to have dinner there the night Ellison was murdered. Michaels became nervous when his friend didn't show up — the 68-year-old Chicago transplant had never been this late for their usual Sunday-night meal. So Michaels walked the two blocks to Ellison's townhouse while thinking back to Ellison's last phone call, a few hours earlier, when his friend had sounded rushed.

Maybe he had met someone? Michaels didn't want to interrupt, but something felt wrong. When he found his friend dead in the kitchen, his instinct was validated.

Police quickly linked Nock to the murder through Ellison's stolen credit cards. Without getting a warrant, they tracked Nock's cell phone. The suspected killer, they quickly learned, was already in police custody and his phone was in a property room in South Beach, where he had been caught illegally hawking coconuts. They arrested him on murder charges hours later.

Kyle Alcott/Newscom

There's little doubt police nabbed the right man. Ellison was known for risque dalliances with younger men, and Nock is a bearded, curly-haired Delaware native 40 years his junior.

But Williams, the public defender, now argues that tracking Nock to South Beach without a warrant was wrong — no matter how certain police were that he was the killer. A BSO spokeswoman declined to comment about the case, but police will likely argue that the "imminent danger" Nock posed should have allowed cops to bypass the courts. No hearing date on Williams's challenge has been set.

Dohn Williams is at the forefront of challenging cell-phone tracking in South Florida. He has filed two other challenges, including a recent motion challenging the arrest of Andre Delancy, a 25-year-old Bahamian charged with helping two other men hide from police after they shot two BSO deputies during a traffic stop; one of the deputies, Brian Tephford, died in the shooting. Williams contends Delancy's phone was illegally tracked to a hotel.

Lawyers representing a former client of Williams' have also filed a similar motion in a case against Justin Donald, a 27-year-old from Fort Lauderdale arrested in July 2009 after he stole a gun and a wallet from a BSO colonel's car.

"The laws have not kept up with the technology," Williams contends. "Police should not be able to see you and track you remotely without a warrant. The privacy issue is what concerns me the most."

For Michaels, the legal wrangling opens fresh the emotional wound of finding his friend dead on the floor. Ellison's brothers and nephews, who live in Chicago, won't be able to move past his murder until Nock is convicted and sentenced.

"There are so many loopholes in a lot of the laws today that allow anybody to go free," Michaels says, taking a break from his shift at the front desk of a Fort Lauderdale hotel. "We just want justice for Larry."

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12 comments
MIAmobi
MIAmobi

The people can take control of our own privacy when it comes to SmartPhone tracking. MIAmobi SilentPocket addresses this issue and many more problems associated with mobile devices. With over 500,000 mobile app developed for smartphones, many of which are stealth and are ease dropping on your every move capable of turning on functions on your phone like your mic, camera, GPS, address book and more, even when it has been turned off. There is only one sure way to stop this if you really want to know for sure that you have control of your mobile device is to block all wifi coming in or going out. Get informed at MIAmobi.com

Pingalingading
Pingalingading

KingFish has been around for a long time...that is how they caught Pablo Escobar...

If you cell phone already has a GPS feature, they can simply "ping" the phone and get your location in real time. The FBI had ping'd Sprint pones more than 3,000 times before it was revealed....All warrantless pings.

Joy
Joy

Gay marriage? The STD dating site√ stdster.,.c0m, the gay subscribers increased continually.

Most of them are sexy.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Though our system assumes innocence before guilt, government officials might see otherwise. The authorities might track an individual to jail, maim, or kill before that individual can get to safety or prove their innocence outside the judicial or law enforcement systems. Note: for years lawmen have tracked and captured thousands of suspects without the use of devices that can be used against the public-at-large indiscriminately. We've all seen police who use such resources for personal and somtimes nefarious reasons.

NavyMom
NavyMom

Interesting story, scary to think that the government is using our phones to track us...to me it smacks a bit of the old "Big Brother", however I also agree we need to get criminals off the street as quickly as possible. I'm not sure what the answer is here, but as our technology evolves and improves, we also need laws to reflect those changes. I personally don't have anything to hide but the thought I can be tracked through my "best friend" Android kinda gives me that shivery (not in a good way) feeling. That being said, I hope the case doesn't get thrown out on a technicality either. So what to do?? It's a conundrum...

Wizard 13
Wizard 13

I agree, There are a lot of loopholes that allow people to go free. I also know of cases where the people who the police suspected of foul play, because of similar circumstances, were locked up because certain evidence pointed to them, and the evidence was wrong. Handing them the power to track and trace anyone they choose is NOT the answer, That is just a right out invasion of privacy. If given that power, they can pick and choose, and use it to lock up innocent people, just because they might feel they are a simply nusence. Its bad enough they make up BOGUS charges and plant just enough evidence for a prosecution because they simply dont like somebody. In a "perfect" world where law enforcement goes by the book and not a power trip, - well, in that world, this type of thing might be ok, but the last I checked, that world doesent exist in this dimension of time and space.

JonERotn
JonERotn

Because, Salvannah, we have a system of checks and balances. The judicial system is a check on the executive right to go after people. It's a fundamental precept to our civilization. All they have to do is contact a judge and get permission. It's not like they're detractors are saying to outlaw the technology. It is clearly beneficial for catching suspected criminals. Cops are not above the law, and we, the people, need these protections lest the powers become to authoritarian. Think about police in other countries that can kill whoever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. This is the result of no oversight. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Salvannah
Salvannah

Who Cares how they catch these Dangeous Criminals~ As Long as they are taken off our streets and no one else can get hurt by them. I say catch them any way the police can is a good thing~~

Richard Stein
Richard Stein

What a great interesting story! David Minsky is really on to something big

Pingalingading
Pingalingading

correction: 8,million times per year...not 3,000

David Minsky
David Minsky

Technically both devices, KingFish and StingRay, do not use GPS or triangulation--which determines location based on measuring angles from known points; rather a lesser-known method is used: multilateration--measuring differences in time between signals broadcasted from at least two known towers.

 
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