Pacemaker Evidence May Be Used in Butler County Arson Trial

On Tuesday, Butler County Judge Charles L. Pater ruled that evidence gathered from a defendant's pacemaker may be used in his criminal trial.  The case involves the September 2016 fire at the Middletown home of Ross Compton. Police were suspicious due to conflicting statements, and the fact that Compton claimed to have been able to pack his belongings in suitcases and throw them out the window. Police obtained a warrant for Compton's pacemaker data and had it examined by a cardiologist who determined it was unlikely Compton could have moved and packed the items in the time he claimed.  Compton was indicted on arson and fraud charges in January. 

Yesterday's ruling came after Compton's attorney filed a motion to suppress the pacemaker data, arguing that it was a violation of the defendant's constitutional rights. On Tuesday, Judge Pater ruled against the defense, saying “There is a lot of other information about things that may characterize the inside of my body that I would much prefer to keep private rather than how my heart is beating. It is just not that big of a deal." The trial is scheduled to begin in December.