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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI Forensic Science Partnership announces
Seminar Series topics for spring
Program features forensics scientist Henry Lee, who testified in the O.J.Simpson case

KINGSTON, R.I. -- January 18, 2001 -- The University of Rhode Island's Forensic Science Partnership Spring Seminar Series will feature an expert who testified in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, a scientist who studied the origins of enslaved Africans unearthed from a New York burial ground, an expert on the Shroud of Turin and an expert on the Australian Dingo Baby case.

The seminar series, which is sponsored by the URI Forensic Science Partnership, is in its second year of providing free, public lectures on issues involving forensic science. All seminars will be held on the Kingston Campus on Thursdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. All but one will be held in Pastore Hall, Room 124.

The exception is the seminar featuring Henry Lee, which will be held in the Cherry Auditorium of the Chester H. Kirk Center for Advanced Technology on the Kingston Campus.

Here is the schedule:

Jan 25: Randy Bresee, professor of textile science at the University of Tennessee will speak. He will discuss textile analysis in forensic investigations, focusing on evidence from cases in which he has been involved: Georgia vs. Wayne Williams, the Atlanta child murder case; California vs. Angelo Buono, the Hillside Strangler case; Australia vs. Lindy Chamberlain, the Dingo Baby case; the Shroud of Turin; and Abraham Lincoln's coat from the Ford Theater. Bresee has been involved in forensic analysis for the past 14 years, and he teaches three graduate courses. He has been awarded $1.5 million in funding, published 75 papers, given more than 75 presentations, received three patents and developed a considerable amount of computer software.

Feb. 1: Pete Hefferan, of Cartridge Actuated Devices, will speak on smokeless powders and dust explosions.

Feb. 8: Henry Lee will speak on new advances in forensic science. Lee is retired commissioner of the Department of Public Safety for the state of Connecticut and former director of the Connecticut State Police Forensics Science Laboratory. Lee, who began his career in the Connecticut lab in 1979, testified on behalf of the defense for O.J. Simpson, and provided the evidence link in the Richard Crafts woodchipper murder case in Connecticut. Born in China, Lee served for several years as a member and captain of the Taipei Police Department, and then came to the United States for further study. He holds a bachelor's degree in forensic science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and he earned his master's degree and doctorate from New York University. He has completed many special training courses at the FBI Academy, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 1983, he was elected as a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He has conducted 6,000 major investigations and cases around the world. He is an adjunct professor at 11 medical schools, colleges, universities and law schools.

Feb. 15: John Reid, Department of Geology, Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass., will discuss the origins of enslaved Africans found in the New York African Burial Ground using strontium isotopes. In 1991, during excavation for a new federal Environmental Protection Agency Building in lower Manhattan, some 420 remains of slave burials were unearthed. Reid has analyzed the enamel and dentin of teeth from about 15 individuals for the isotopes of strontium with the goal of deciphering the birthplaces and migrations of the individuals. Reid has recognized three sets of individuals from the sample population: 1. True birth New Yorkers. 2. People probably born on ancient rocks in West Africa. 3. Individuals either from the volcanic islands of the Caribbean, or from limestone terrain in Africa. Reid received his bachelor's degree in physics from Williams College; his master's in education from Harvard University and his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Feb. 22: Kelly Mount, FBI Explosives Unit, will speak on processing bombing crime scenes.

March 1: Don Housman, U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Services, will speak on the use of bloodstains to reconstruct crime scenes. Housman is a supervisor of the Forensic Consultant Unit, Death Investigations, of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. He will give a brief history of blood stain analysis, what blood stains tell, why blood stain analysis works, the difference between low, medium and high energy blood stains, the methods used to document blood stains and some examples of blood stain analysis.

March 8: Howard Marshall & Dimitrios Karydas, FM Global Insurance, will speak on insurance investigations.

March 22: Kenneth A. Rahn, research professor at the Center for Atmospheric Chemistry Studies, Graduate School of Oceanography, URI, will speak. His topic will be "The J.F.K. Assassination Forensic Analysis Gone Awry, Neutron Analysis of Bullets & Fragments." Rahn will discuss the repeated attempts to analyze the lead in the bullets and fragments from the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Rahn will review the results of those analyses, and conclude with the hypothesis that only two bullets, both from Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle, hit the president and Texas Governor John Connally. The result agrees with all other validated physical evidence from the assassination. Rahn holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from MIT and his doctorate in meteorology from the University of Michigan. He has been an atmospheric chemist at URI since 1973. In the last 15 years, he has broadened his teaching activities to include scientific writing, global change and the JFK assassination. His course on the assassination has been offered at URI for several years and has recently been made a permanent offering of the Political Science Department.

March 29: James Whalen, of West Bay Psychiatric Associates, will discuss forensic psychology.

April 5: Dennis Pincince, of the Rhode Island State Police, will talk on processing the crime scene.

April 12: Amy Michaud, FBI Trace Unit, will speak on the examination of trace evidence.

April 19: Kathryn S. Kalasinsky, Division of Forensic Toxicology, Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, will speak on hair analysis. Hair is the only human substance that retains long term drug retention data. Kalasinsky will talk about sampling, analysis and interpretation as critical aspects of drug abuse determination from hair. In addition, the hair root bulb can give information of the drug distribution as the time of death for fatal cases. Kalasinsky earned her bachelor's degree and doctorate from the University of South Carolina. She has more than 20 years in the fields of environmental and forensic toxicology.

April 26: Ed Pierce, retired member of the Warwick Police Department, will speak on forensic and clinical aspects of ritual crime. This discussion will examine cults.

For Information: Jimmie Oxley 401-874-2103, Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

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Page last revised on Saturday, February 24, 2001 .