The Global Forensic and Justice Center at Florida International University is dedicated to supporting the justice community through innovative research, programs, evaluation of the latest technologies, forensic science education and laboratory quality reviews. Our goal is for all stakeholders to receive and provide the highest level of forensic science services.

As part of this commitment, we are making available the nearly 30-year archive of training material, symposia, poster presentations, and technical evaluations completed by our founding component, the National Forensic Science Technology Center (NFSTC).

Homicide Investigation Symposium

July 14-16, 2009

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Justice, in partnership with the National Forensic Science Technology Center.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Michael Medaris, Senior Policy Advisor, Law Enforcement, Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC
Robert E. O’Neill, Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief, Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida, Tampa, FL

Homicide in America: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Moderator: Cornelia Sorensen Sigworth, Policy Advisor, Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC

Timothy G. Keel, Major Case Specialist, Behavioral Analysis Unit, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Quantico, VA
Thomas Stigler, Lieutenant of Detectives, City of Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee, WI

Effective Crime Scene Processing and Documentation

This session is intended to develop a fundamental knowledge of crime scene processing with a focus on the core concepts of: assessing, observing, documenting, searching and collecting.

Presenter: Ryan M. Rezzelle, Crime Scene Unit Supervisor, Johnson County Criminlistics Laboratory, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Mission, KS

Forensic Intelligence from Digital Evidence

This session will provide knowledge on how to maximize investigative information through the sources and outcomes of a search of digital devices including cellular phones, smart phones and computers. Audio and video evidence enhancement will also be covered.

Presenter: Stephen Pearson, Chief Executive Officer, High Tech Crime Institute, Inc., Tampa, FL

Back to Top

Homicide Investigations: The Role of the Medical Examiner

The Medical Examiner plays a key role in providing objective evidence of cause, timing and manner of death. All of these elements are critical to the adjudication of a homicide case. This session will discuss the importance of law enforcement building working relationships with their MEs and some of the challenges they face in doing so.

Presenter: Amy McMaster, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Nashville Medical Examiner’s Office, Nashville, TN

Collect that Shirt and Submit it to the DNA Lab: Building Communication Among Homicide Detectives, Crime Scene Investigators and the DNA Laboratory

It is always important to maintain total control of a crime scene while also concentrating on what evidence will move the case in a positive investigative direction. So, whose crime scene is it anyway? Can DNA laboratory decisions be made at the crime scene? At what point do you prioritize DNA evidence? What new technologies are available? How do you break that barrier and build a partnership with your crime scene investigators and scientists to analyze and use your evidence to its fullest potential? This session will provide information and facts about the importance of decisions made at the scene and ultimately with the laboratory and the justice system. Presentation (PDF)

Cecelia A. Crouse, Chief Scientific Officer, Forensic Biology Unit, Forensic Sciences Division, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach, FL
Kenneth P. Morrow, Section Manager, Forensic Sciences Division, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach, FL

Understanding Serial Murder

Introduction: Mary Lou Leary, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC
Presenter: Mark A. Hilts, Unit Chief, Behavioral Analysis Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Quantico, VA

Developing an Effective Case Management Plan

This session will provide knowledge on how an effective case management plan impacts homicide clearance rates. The session will look at solvability factors such as the number of detectives assigned to case, witness statements and investigative work including evidence collection and information sharing both internally and externally. Presentation (PDF)

Presenter: Daniel J. Coleman, Sergeant Detective, Boston Regional Intelligence Center, Boston Police Department, Boston, MA

Back to Top

Behavioral Aspects of Violent Crime

This session will provide an introduction to concepts used to analyze the motivations and behavior of violent criminals, particularly those involved in serial/sexual murders. Areas of discussion will include victim selection, Modus Operandi (MO), ritual and staging aspects of crime.

Presenter: James J. McNamara, Supervisory Special Agent, Behavioral Analysis Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Quantico, VA

Legal Issues: Preparation for Trial

This session will examine the practices, processes and challenges faced by detectives in preparing for trial in homicide cases. Presentation (PDF)

Presenter: Jonathyn W. Priest, Lieutenant, Major Crimes Section, Denver Police Department, Denver, CO

Victims: How to Work Effectively with Them Through the Investigation

Studies suggest that crime victims in general strongly desire to be notified officially as to whether or not the police “solved” their case, and what progress has been made toward convicting the suspect after arrest. The interaction between victims and investigators can, at times, be difficult. Investigators want to provide the victim(s) with some sense of closure by keeping them informed, yet at the same time they need to “walk the fine line” of case integrity. This session will provide an overview on techniques that can be useful when working with victims of homicides. Presentation (PDF)

Jim Markey, Sergeant, Sex Crimes Unit/Cold Case Team, Phoenix Police Department, Fountain Hills, AZ
Patty Wetterling, Child Safety Advocate, St. Joseph, MN

Key Strategies for Successful Interviews and Interrogations

This session will differentiate between interviewing and interrogating a suspect. For example, interviews are free-flowing discussions that enable detectives’ to evaluate behavioral responses, i.e. posture, eye contact, facial expression, and word choice, as well as response delivery which may reveal truthfulness or deceit. An interrogation, on the other hand, is accusatory in nature and involves active persuasion. This session will provide key strategies on how to conduct successful interviews and interrogations. Presentation (PDF)

John W. Jackson, Sergeant, Homicide Unit-Cold Case Squad Metro Squad Liaison, Kansas City Missouri Police Department, Kansas City, MO
Joe Langer, Detective, Leawood Police Department, Leawood, KS

Back to Top

Conducting an Effective Search and Canvass of the Crime Scene

This session will provide key elements and challenges to a successful search and canvass of a homicide crime scene. Topics to be covered during this session will include: before, during and after the search, size and scope, planning for the appropriate use of volunteers and other resources, and maintaining control of search efforts without compromising the scene and its evidentiary value.

Gus Paidousis, Deputy Chief, Knoxville Police Department, Knoxville, TN - Paidousis Presentation (PDF)
Jim Walters, National Native American Amber Alter Liaison, Fox Valley Technical College, Washington, DC - Waters Presentation (PDF)

Key Elements to a Homicide Investigation Involving Familial or Domestic Violence

This session will look at the key case elements of intimate partner killings, including: prior history of domestic violence, separation and estrangement, obsessive-possessive behavior or morbid jealousy. Participants will learn how the perpetrators' responses to law enforcement affect the investigation, from the start of the case through prosecution. Key factors that often play a role in intimate partner killings, such as alcohol and drug use, unemployment, the presence of stepchildren in the home, and the important role of shame will be discussed. The phenomenon of domestic violence fatality review as a strategy for improving multi-agency service delivery in cases of domestic violence will be reviewed.

Randy Hutson, Sergeant, Family Investigations Division, Phoenix Police Department, Phoenix, AZ
Neil Websdale, Professor, Director of the National Domestic Violence Fatality Review, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ

Operational Response and Investigative Online Network (ORION)

This session will provide an in-depth look at ORION. Participants will gain the knowledge and skills needed to use this system for investigating homicide and other violent crimes.

Presenter: Michael A. McCoy, Supervisory Special Agent – Unit Chief, FBI Critical Incident Response Group, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Quantico, VA

Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)

This presentation will highlight tools available to the homicide investigators including the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). NCIC is a computerized information system containing documented criminal justice information. The presentation will include information concerning investigative applications such as Off-line Search and the Delayed Inquiry Program. IAFIS provides state-of-the-art biometric-based identification and criminal history information services to meet the ever evolving demands for new and innovative identification services. The presentation will include Hot Check, On-line Hit, and Latent Identification services.

Presenter: Cynthia Johnston, Management and Program Analyst, Criminal Justice Information Services Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Clarksburg, WV

Back to Top

Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP)

This session will provide useful information on ViCAP which was established by the Department of Justice in 1985. ViCAP serves as the national repository for violent crimes; specifically homicides, sexual assaults, missing persons, and unidentified human remains. Comprehensive case information submitted to FBI-ViCAP is maintained in the national database and automatically compared to all other cases in the database to identify similarities. Additionally, individual case submissions are analyzed by crime analysts through the application of analytical skills, education, specialized training, and research.

Presenter: John Raleigh, Supervisory Special Agent, Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, FBI Academy, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Quantico, VA

National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS)

Moderator: Billy Young, NamUs Operations Coordinator, National Forensic Science Technology Center, Largo, FL

P. Michael Murphy, Coroner, Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner, Las Vegas, NV - Presentation (PDF)
Carla Proudfoot, Director, Computer Crimes Section, Maryland State Police, Maryland Center for Missing and Unidentified Persons, Columbia, MD

Homicide in Indian County

Introduction: Michael Medaris, Senior Policy Advisor, Law Enforcement, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Washington, DC
Presenter: Jim Walters, National Native American Amber Alter Liaison, Fox Valley Technical College, Washington, DC - Presentation (PDF)

Investigating the Abduction and Murder of Jessica Lunsford

Moderator: Charles Heurich, Program Manager, National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC
Presenter: Jeffrey J. Dawsy, Sheriff, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, Inverness, FL

Closing Remarks

Back to Top

Global Forensic and Justice Center

11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199

Email Twitter Facebook Instagram YouTube LinkedIn