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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

'Father of blood spatter analysis' to lecture on Friday, March 26

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 18, 2004 -- Herb MacDonell, the "father of blood spatter analysis," who was involved in the O.J. Simpson murder trial and the analysis of the Robert Kennedy assassination, will speak as part of the Forensic Science Seminar Series offered by the University of Rhode Island.

The lecture, "Applied Forensic Science- Blood Spatter Analysis," will take place on Friday, March 26, 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.

MacDonell earned a masterís degree in science from URI in 1956. During that time he worked as a forensic scientist for the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General.
"I find that he's knowledgeable, successful in his career, and a great lecturer and teacher," said Dennis Hilliard, co-director of the URI Forensic Science Partnership, director of the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory, and acquaintance of MacDonell's for the past 12 years.

"Here is a chance for our own community and the public to hear from one of our most distinguished alumni in the field of forensic science," Hilliard said. "How often do we get to hear from experts who have played critical roles in cases that have attracted international attention?"

As the founder of the Bloodstain Evidence Institute in Corning, N.Y., MacDonell instructs students and scientists in the art of blood spatter analysis.

MacDonell told ABC News, that a blood droplet's size reveals how much energy was applied to the victim, the shape of the droplet suggests the direction of its source, and the distribution of the droplet reveals its distance from a surface.

He also cautions his students to be very careful in making their forensic deductions, because sometimes evidence may seem deceivingly simple.

However, "in forensic science nothing is simple," he also said to ABC News in 2002.
About 100 of his articles have been published, and he has lectured more than 600 times, both here and abroad. He has consulted on cases in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 13 foreign countries.

MacDonell has been a member of the American Academy of Forensic Science since 1964, as well as the British and Canadian Societies of Forensic Science. He also holds a certification as a senior crime scene analyst from the International Association for Identification.

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.