Starrs: Forensic Secrets Revealed

Forensic Investigator Weighs In On <B><I>48 Hours Mystery</B></I> Murder

Go behind the scenes with 48 Hours Mystery to see Professor James E. Starrs investigate whether or not Bill Flint was murdered in "Secrets From The Grave."

In his new book, "A Voice For The Dead: A Forensic Investigator's Pursuit of the Truth in the Grave," Starrs goes more in-depth with cases that he has worked on, and reveals how forensic science has emerged as a crucial tool for closing the book on some of the greatest mysteries of our times.

Did Robert Ford betray and kill Jesse James with a shot to the back of his head? Was Mary Sullivan really the Boston Strangler's final victim, and did reputed Strangler Albert DeSalvo really commit those crimes? What happened to government scientist Frank Olson, who fell to his death from a midtown New York City hotel at the height of the Cold War?

In his book, Starrs details the forensic investigation as he exhumes the remains of five people whose lives span over 200 years. His work sheds light on questions that have tantalized historians for decades.

While representing some of the enthralling cases he has encountered in his career, he argues how forensic science can be superior to a confession and even eyewitness accounts in criminal proceedings. He points out that forensic evidence has been the most empirical and objective of all judicial methods in finding the truth.

Starrs is a professor of law and forensic sciences at George Washington University, and he is the recipient of the Distinguished Fellow Award from the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

He completed his post-graduate work in criminal law at New York University, where he subsequently held a Ford Foundation Fellowship.

Starrs is one of the foremost leading forensic scientists who has directed or participated in some of the most interesting scientific cases. His investigations include: the Lindbergh kidnapping; the Sacco and Vanzetti robbery-murders; the Alfred Packer cannibalism cases; the assassination of Sen. Huey Long; the hatchet murders of the Bordens; the CIA-LSD related death of Frank Olson; the identification of Jesse James; the death of Meriwether Lewis; the location of the remains of Samuel Washington, and the Boston Strangler case.

Starrs is also a co-author of a leading textbook, "Scientific Evidence in Civil and Criminal Cases," which is a University Casebook Series released by the West Publishing Company. He has also written numerous articles on issues in forensic science, and has written and edited "The Scientific Sleuthing Review," a journal of legal and scientific information, for more than 25 years.
  • Rebecca Leung

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