NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A Rutgers University computer system manager told jurors on Tuesday that it appears the computer of a former student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate's intimate encounter with another man was used in two video chats on Sept. 21, 2010.
That doesn't prove that Dharun Ravi spied on his roommate, but it may bolster the prosecution's case that he was preparing to attempt to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, that night. Clementi committed suicide a day later by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
The testimony from Rutgers network administrator Timothy Hayes came in the eighth day of Ravi's trial. The 20-year-old faces 15 criminal charges, including bias intimidation and invasion of privacy.
Authorities say he used his webcam to see his roommate and another man kissing on Sept. 19 and viewed it from the room across the hall from his own.
Hayes told jurors that the data the university collected was not able to show online interactions between two computers on the same wing of the dorm.
When Clementi asked for the room by himself two nights later, authorities say, Ravi planned to spy on him and his guest again. The second time, they say, he used Twitter, texts and word-of-mouth to invite friends to tune in.
Prosecutors also have been building the case that he went to the rooms of dorm mates that evening to test his webcam.
Prosecutors tried to use Hayes' testimony to corroborate that. He said there was a web chat between his computer and Lokesh Ojha's at 6:58 p.m. that evening, and another with Alissa Agarwal starting 46 minutes later. Both those students testified that Ravi showed them how they could use a web chat program to see what was happening in his room.
There has been no evidence that anyone used a videochat service to spy on Clementi that night.
Court documents suggest that Ravi's computer was unplugged before his guest arrived.
Hayes said it seems that Ravi's computer was unplugged for about two hours, beginning at 9:25 p.m.
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