Target Audience: Librarians and researchers interested in learning the uses of modern forensic science techniques and exhumation to prove legal historical facts; librarians and researchers who wish to learn about the forensic developments in the Boston Strangler case that changed the face of this crime
1) Participants will be able to assess the role of modern forensic science techniques and exhumation in re-examinations of historical legal events.
2) Participants will be able to explain how forensic techniques unavailable during the 1960s produced evidence 36 years later indicating that the publicly accepted identity of the Boston Strangler may be a mistake.
The person lodged in the public consciousness as the Boston Strangler never stood trial for the murders of 11 women in the Boston area from 1962 to 1964. Although defense attorney F. Lee Bailey obtained the confession of Albert DeSalvo, no physical evidence linked DeSalvo to the killings, and his versions of the killings did not harmonize fully with the facts. James E. Starrs, Professor Emeritus of Law and Forensic Sciences at George Washington University Law School, led the team that performed the exhumation and re-autopsy of Mary Sullivan, the Strangler's purported last victim, and DeSalvo, both at the request of the families. Starrs returns to AALL to discuss the forensic evidence obtained during re-examination, and how this evidence destroyed the credibility of DeSalvo's claim to be the Boston Strangler.