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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Former FBI special agent to speak at URI on Friday, Feb. 20

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 13, 2004 -- An Eastern Kentucky University professor and former FBI special agent, whose work led to criminal indictments in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing case, will speak as part of the Forensic Science Seminar Series offered by the University of Rhode Island.

Tom Thurmanís discussion on "Explosion Scene Investigation and Pan Am Flight 103" will take place on Friday, Feb. 20, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Room 124 of Pastore Hall on the Kingston Campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The explosion of Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988 killed all 259 aboard and 11 on the ground. Thurman was one of the supervising investigators sent by the FBI to examine the 840 square miles of evidence. He was the investigator who matched a fragment of the bombing device timer to one confiscated in Togo, Africa from Libyan agents. This finding led to the criminal indictments, and later sentencing, of two intelligence aids to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

"Curiosity, coupled with a sense of duty and empathy," led Thurman to return to the Lockerbie site several times, he told The Miami Herald in 1991.

Thurman also worked on the 1989 mail-bomb explosion that killed federal Judge Robert Vance in Alabama, and in 1996 he was on the scene of the TWA Flight 800 explosion. The Boeing 747, New York- to- Paris flight, exploded shortly after takeoff, killing all 230 aboard.

Now retired from the FBI, Thurman is a professor at Eastern Kentucky Universityís College of Justice and Safety where he teaches students how to decipher crime scenes involving arson and explosives.

"Details make up the whole picture of forensics," he said two years ago during his last speech at URI, entitled "Unique Aspects of Investigating Bombing Scenes."

The lecture series is a semester-long program offered by the University of Rhode Island Forensic Science Partnership. It lasts through April 30, and all lectures are held in Room 124 of Pastore Hall from 3:30 to 5 p.m.