Truly a legend in his own time, Dr. Henry C. Lee is considered by many to be the greatest forensic criminalist in the world. He has gained widespread public recognition through his involvement in many high-profile cases. Now, as a follow-up to his highly acclaimed Cracking Cases, Dr. Lee describes in intimate detail his work in personally investigating five notorious murder cases, while demonstrating the fascinating scientific techniques of forensic science. Taking the reader through the entire investigative process, Dr. Lee shares his thoughts on two high profile cases:
The Skakel-Moxley Murder. This case, which had remained unsolved for three decades, seized the headlines since it involved the nephews of Ethyl Kennedy and the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. In the fall of 1975, the partially clad body of fifteen-year-old Martha Moxley was found by a neighbor near the home of Rushton Skakel, the older brother of Ethyl Kennedy. The night before, Martha had visited Skakel’s teenage sons at their house while the father was away on a hunting trip. At 10 p.m., Martha reportedly left the Skakel residence to return to her own house, a few doors away. She never made it home.
For twenty-four years no one was prosecuted. Finally, in 1999, Dr. Lee and two other professionals were appointed to a special task force charged with reviewing all of the evidence and reinvestigating the case. In May of 2002, the case finally came to trial and Dr. Lee testified before the jury. Dr. Lee's testimony focused on a reconstruction of the crime scene and "indirect forensic evidence." The ultimate verdict surprised many experienced courtroom observers.
The JonBenet Ramsey Case. The murder of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey has created a frenzy of media speculation, partly because local Colorado authorities bungled the initial handling of the evidence. Two months after discovery of the little girl’s body, Dr. Lee was asked to help with the inquiry. Dr. Lee knows as much about the forensic evidence in this case as anyone alive — except for the murderer. He provides a particularly extensive discussion of the complexities of this provocative case.
Dr. Lee also describes his investigations of the Serra, Barrett, and Deng murder cases, which took place in California, Florida, and Connecticut. Each of these cases have taken dramatic twists and turns. Dr. Lee presents in scientific detail how he investigated the murders, analyzed the evidence, and used techniques that have played a critical role in bringing many criminals to justice. He discusses how the criminalist examines blood spatter evidence and uses blood identification, DNA analysis, and other forensic technologies developed in the world’s best laboratories. Dr. Lee also makes the point that forensics continues to advance. With every new scientific development, the prospect of solving seemingly baffling "cold cases" becomes greater.
This page-turner by a world-renowned expert offers an intriguing insider's look into the pursuit of justice in some of the most notorious and troubling criminal cases of recent times.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dr. Lee earns his praise in this genuine examination of these pertinent and riveting cases. I am an avid reader of forensic non-fiction and I was sincerely impressed with Dr. Lee's unrelenting attention to detail. He explores the Skakel and Ramsey cases with a nuanced and candid eye, offering insights that I can only attribute to such a seasoned forensic professional as Dr. Lee. Each chapter offers a meticulous analysis of the cases' facts and distinctive datum. I am a sincere admirer of Dr. Lee's distinguished works, and this book is no exception.
There are five cases in this book examined in detail by the illustrious Dr. Henry Lee. They are
The Concetta "Penney" Serra Case
The Skakel-Moxley Case
The JonBenet Ramsey Case
The Lisa Peng Case; and
The Suzan Barratt Case.
I'll look briefly at two of them.
The longest chapter in the book is on the JonBenet Ramsey case. Lee gives a comprehensive summary of events from a forensic point of view including a lot of material about the rift between the Boulder police and the district attorney's office, and the problems they had with the intensive media coverage. I didn't learn anything new, having read several books on the case, but I would note that twice Lee mentions that the blow to the head that JonBenet suffered was "fatal." This is significant since it means that the ligature application around her neck was not the cause of death. This would be another bit of evidence indicating an elaborate attempt at...
Ditto to Dennis Littrell's eloquent and well-informed review, by the way. This is a solid and varied sequel indeed, and the Doc looks very cool on the cover, but I just want to focus on the Ramsey case above all.
While the excellent Dr. Lee does not flat out accuse the Ramseys of involuntary manslaughter and a pitiful cover-up, his use of probability terminology speaks for itself.
To clarify things, the critical points to grasp about the Ramsey case include the following...
There is no conclusive evidence - of any kind - that there was ever an intruder. All of the 'possible clues' touted by pro-Ramsey people have long ago been debunked.
The tainted, partial DNA sample that has been referred to repeatedly, could have come from any number of sources, including the clothing manufacturer/packer, and there is absolutely no evidence whatosever that it came from an intruder.
The sample is a limited 10-loci/marker sample and could never...
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