Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia
MARCELLA FIERRO was appointed chief medical examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1994. She co-directs the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, offering week-long courses on topics such as advanced death investigation to medical examiners, crime scene investigators, judges, law enforcement investigators, prosecutors, forensic scientists, nurses, and others working in forensic science.
Marcella Fierro, graduated cum laude in biology from D'Youville College in Buffalo, New York, and decided to become a physician in 1962. She earned her doctor of medicine in forensic pathology from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine in 1966. Following an internship and residency at Ottawa Civic Hospital in Ontario, Canada, Dr. Fierro pursued residencies in pathology at the Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic Educational Foundation and at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she became chief resident in Pathology, with a fellowship in forensic pathology in the Department of Legal Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond from 1973 to 1974. With board certification in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, Dr. Fierro became chief medical examiner of Virginia, the state's highest position in forensic science, in 1994.
Dr. Fierro has been on the faculty of the Department of Legal Medicine and Pathology at the Medical College of Virginia Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University since 1973, and was clinical professor of pathology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, from 1983 to 1992 and again in 1999 to 2002. She was staff pathologist at Richmond's Medical College of Virginia Hospitals from 1975 to 1992, then professor of Pathology at East Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville from 1992 to 1994. She is a member of the American Medical Association and the International Association for Identification, a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, the College of American Pathologists, and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, among others, and is a past president of the National Association of Medical Examiners. Dr. Fierro has been a consultant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Task Force on National Crime Investigation Center, Unidentified Persons and Missing Persons Files, Washington D.C., since 1983, and has served on the board of editors and been a reviewer for The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology since 1979. She has made countless presentations and lectures before academic and professional organizations and has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals. Among her many awards is the Lifetime Achievement Award she received in 2001 from the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Medical Alumni Association, State University at Buffalo.
Dr. Fierro has appeared on the Discovery Channel's “New Detectives” series and on BBC regarding Cornwell's novel From Potter's Field. Dr. Fierro advised Cornwell on all her Scarpetta books, including Postmortem, Body of Evidence, All that Remains, Cruel and Unusual, Body Farm, and From Potter's Field.
University of Colorado at Denver
KAREN KAFADAR is Professor of Statistics and Chancellor's Scholar in the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Preventive Medicine & Biometrics at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center. She received her B.S. (Mathematics) and M.S. (Statistics) from Stanford and her Ph.D. from Princeton (Statistics) under John Tukey.
Her research focuses on robust methods, data analysis, and characterization of uncertainty in the physical, chemical, biological, and engineering sciences. Previous appointments include National Institute of Standards and Technology (where she continues her work presently as Guest Faculty Visitor on problems involving measurement accuracy, experiment design and analysis, and standard reference materials), Hewlett Packard Company (R&D laboratory for RF/Microwave test equipment), and National Cancer Institute (Divison of Cancer Prevention, Cancer Screening Section). At University of Colorado, she directs the Statistical Consulting Service, collaborates with researchers in the School of Medicine, and teaches courses in applied and theoretical statistics. She has served on several editorial review boards as Editor or Associate Editor and on governing boards for the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the International Statistical Institute. Dr. Kafadar is a Fellow of the ASA and has authored over 70 journal articles and book chapters and has advised numerous M.S. and Ph.D. students.
Peter M. Marone
Virginia Department of Forensic Science
PETE M. MARONE is the Executive Director of the Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences. He joined the Department in 1978 and served as Central Laboratory Director from 1998 until 2005, when he was named Director of Technical Services. Mr. Marone began his forensic career at the Allegheny County Crime Laboratory in 1971 and remained in Pittsburgh until 1978.
Mr. Marone is a member of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD), American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists, International Association for Chemical Testing and the Forensic Science Society.
He also has served on the ASCLD DNA Credential Review Committee (for DNA) and was co-chair of the undergraduate curriculum committee of the Technical Working Group for Forensic Science Training and Education. Marone is currently the Chair of the ASCLD-LAB Board, the Forensic Education Program Accreditation Commission for the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and is on the board of Directors of the Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations.
Mr. Marone received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.
Cleveland State University
GEOFF MEARNS was appointed dean of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University on July 11, 2005. Prior to that he was a partner in the Cleveland offices of two national law firms: Baker & Hostetler LLP and Thompson Hine LLP. While at Baker & Hostetler, he was head of the firm’s national Business Crimes and Corporate Investigations team, and his practice focused on federal criminal investigations and prosecutions and complex commercial litigation. While in private practice, he was also actively involved in pro bono work.
Prior to commencing private practice in 1998, Dean Mearns had a distinguished nine-year career as a prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice. During his tenure with the Justice Department, he was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where he was Chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. In that position, he was responsible for investigating, prosecuting and supervising cases against members and associates of organized-crime families charged with racketeering, murder, extortion, bribery, and obstruction of justice. Dean Mearns was also the First Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. From 1997 to 1998, as Special Assistant to the United States Attorney General, Dean Mearns participated in the prosecution of Terry Nichols, one of two men convicted for bombing the Oklahoma City Federal Building.
Dean Mearns received his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1981, and he received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1987. After graduating from law school, Dean Mearns clerked for the Honorable Boyce F. Martin, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Dean Mearns has been active in professional and community service. Among other activities, he was twice Chair of the Merit Selection Committee on Bankruptcy Judgeships for the Northern District of Ohio, he is Chair of the Board of Trustees of Applewood Centers, Inc., he is a member of the Lay Review Board of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, he is a trustee of the Cleveland Bar Association and of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.
Dean Mearns has been an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and New York Law School. He has published articles on criminal litigation, and he is a frequent speaker and commentator on various criminal law issues, including counter-terrorism.
Randall S. Murch
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
RANDALL MURCH is the Associate Director, Research Program Development, Research Division, National Capital Region, Virginia Tech. He also holds Adjunct Professorships in the School of Public and International Affairs, College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the Department of Plant Pathology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He is also a Visiting Professor, Department of War Studies, King’s College London, UK.
Following graduate school and brief service in the U.S. Army Reserves, Dr. Murch’s first career was with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where he was a Special Agent. He was assigned to the Indianapolis and Los Angeles Field Offices where he performed counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and other investigations. During his career, Dr. Murch was assigned to the FBI Laboratory as a forensic biologist, research scientist, department head, and deputy director at various times. Interdispersed with his Laboratory assignments were four assignments in the Bureau’s technical investigative program: as a program manager for complex operations planning, Intelligence Division; unit chief for a technology development and deployment group, Technical Services Division; squad supervisor, New York Field Office; and, deputy director, Investigative Technology Division (formally Technical Services Division). Between his last Laboratory assignment and his last technical investigative program assignment, he was detailed to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Department of Defense, where he was the director of the Advanced Systems and Concepts Office, where he led advanced studies on complex current and future challenges dealing with weapons of mass destruction. While in the FBI he created the FBI’s WMD forensic investigative program, served as the FBI’s science advisor to the 1996 Olympic Games, led forensic investigative aspects of a number of major terrorism cases, and initiated a number of new programs for both the FBI Laboratory and technical investigative program. In 1996, Dr. Murch created the FBI’s Hazardous Materials Response Unit, the nation’s focal point for the forensic investigation of WMD threats, events and hoaxes. Throughout his FBI career, he also was involved with extensive liaison at the national and international levels in furthering science and technology for law enforcement, counterterrorism, and national security purposes. He retired from the FBI in November 2002, after nearly 23 years of service.
From December 2002-December 2004, Dr. Murch was employed as a Research Staff Member, Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), a leading Federally Funded Research and Development Center, where he led and participated in studies for the defense, intelligence, and homeland security communities. He is still an Adjunct Staff Member at IDA. He joined Virginia Tech in December 2004, where he now works in the areas of life science research program development, systems biology, microbial systems biology, microbial forensics, and biosecurity and university strategic planning. He has or still serves on several advisory boards including the Board of Life Sciences, National Research Council; DTRA’s Threat Reduction Advisory Committee; the Defense Intelligence Agency’s BioChem 2020; the FBI’s Scientific Working Group on Microbial Genomics and Forensics and a new standing committee of the National Academy of Science for the Department of Homeland Security’s National Biodefence Analysis and Countermeasures Center. He has also been a member of or advised study committees of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, Defense Science Board and Threat Reduction Advisory Committee.
Additional FBI experience includes: Forensic Serologist, FBI Laboratory, 1982 – 1987, forensic casework ca. 1000 cases of violent crime; ca. 100 testimonies, several dozen crime scenes, method development and publication, and teaching; Research Scientist, FBI Laboratory, 1987 – 1988, member of first forensic DNA analysis research team in the United States; Section Chief (Department Head), FBI Laboratory, 1995 – 1997, senior executive for one of the main forensic casework departments in the Laboratory (domestic and international responsibilities) and forensic science research program, ca 200 personnel, oversaw the response to and recovery from several investigations of the FBI Laboratory and accreditation by ASCLD-LAB; initiated and oversaw novel national program for the forensic investigation of weapons of mass destruction terrorism, senior manager overseeing FBI Lab support of a number of large domestic and international terrorism investigations and special events (e.g., 1996 Olympics in Atlanta); Deputy Assistant Director (Deputy Director), FBI Laboratory, 1997 – 1999, expanded responsibilities from above, senior executive over two departments, more personnel and casework, research and domestic/international liaison activities; and Field assignment with the FBI in Indianapolis, IN (1980), Los Angeles, CA (1981 – 1982) and New York, NY (1994 – 1995).
Dr. Murch is a member of American Academy of Forensic Sciences, 1984-1988, 1997-1999; American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, 1996-2001; Member and Board of Directors, American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, 1997-2000; and National Institute of Justice DNA Proficiency Testing Panel, 1996-1998. He also served as the Designated Federal Employee on the DNA Advisory Board, 1996 – 1999.
Dr. Murch has extensive strategy, analysis and leadership experience in the design, development and implementation of advanced forensic capabilities for intelligence, counterterrorism and other national security applications and purposes.
Dr. Murch received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington, his Master of Science degree in Botanical Sciences from the University of Hawaii in 1976 and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Plant Pathology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1979.
Channing R. Robertson
CHANNING ROBERTSON received his in B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley; his M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University; and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, with an emphasis on fluid mechanics and transport phenomena, from Stanford University. Professor Robertson began his career at the Denver Research Center of the Marathon Oil Company and worked in the areas of enhanced oil recovery, geophysical chemistry, and polyurethane chemistry. Since 1970 he has been on the faculty of Stanford’s Department of Chemical Engineering. He has educated and trained over 40 Ph.D. students, holds seven patents, and has published over 140 articles. He is Director of the Stanford-NIH Graduate Training Program in Biotechnology. He was co-director of the Stanford initiative in biotechnology, known as BioX, which in part includes the Clark Center for Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. He directed the summer Stanford Engineering Executive Program. He received the 1991 Stanford Associates Award for service to the University, the 1991 Richard W. Lyman Award, and the Society of Women Engineers Award for Teacher of the Year 2000 at Stanford. He is a Founding Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. Professor Robertson serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee on Tobacco Product Regulation (SATob) of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Panel on Court-Appointed Scientific Experts (CASE) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Because of his interests in biotechnology, he has consulted widely in the design of biomedical diagnostic devices. He has also served as an expert witness in several trials, including the Copper-7 intrauterine contraceptive cases (U.S. and Australia), the Stringfellow Superfund case, and most recently the Minnesota tobacco trial.
MARVIN SCHECHTER has been a solo practitioner, specializing in criminal defense matters before state, federal, and appeals courts, since 1994. Mr. Schecter also held several positions with the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense section. He is currently a member of board of directors, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, member of the New York Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as well as a member of the crimnal justice section of the NY State Bar Association. Mr. Schecter co-founded the Getting Out/Staying Out program that provides 18-22 year old inmates at Riker's Island Correctional Facility with the opportunity to earn a GED and receive job counseling, employment, and housing. He has taught at Hofstra University, Cardoza Law School, and Fordham University School of Law. He received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.
Robert C. Shaler
Pennsylvania State University
ROBERT SHALER earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Pennsylvania State University. He worked with Dr. Kivie Moldave at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine before joining Pitt's Pharmacy School faculty in the Medicinal Chemistry Department. About this same time, he began taking scientific sleuthing courses in the Department of Chemistry, a program taught by the scientific staff at the Pittsburgh Crime Laboratory.
Working as a criminalist at the Pittsburgh Crime Laboratory and also as a professor of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, he taught forensic chemistry while delving into the world of forensic science, performing drug analyses, crime scene investigations, court testimony, and administrating a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) grant to study the individualization of bloodstain evidence. The latter led him to The Aerospace Corporation, where he managed four NIJ forensic science contracts, one of which resulted in the development of a bloodstain analysis system, the defacto standard in forensic laboratories until the early 1990s.
The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner beckoned in 1978. He directed the forensic serology laboratory and performed and directed forensic biological analyses in all New York City homicide investigations. In 1986, he left New York City to join The Lifecodes Corporation, the nation's first forensic DNA laboratory.
In 1990, he returned to the Medical Examiner's office to establish the largest forensic biology department in the U.S. The laboratory embarked on an expansion program in 1997 that raised its scientific staff of nine to 110. In 2000, he designed a 13 story building, to be completed in 2006, that will see the scientific staff increase to over 500, have an annual caseload of 70,000, and will offer expanded forensic testing that will include forensic molecular pathology, crime reconstruction, and forensic neuroscience.
In the wake of the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks on September 11, 2001, he assumed the responsibility for identifying the 2749 people who perished. He designed, organized, and implemented the DNA testing strategy that became the cornerstone for the majority of the 1592 identified victims. After the Medical Examiner’s effort to identify the WTC victims paused, he accepted a professorship in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department and the directorship of the forensic science program at the Pennsylvania State University.
Jay A. Siegel
Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis
JAY A. SIEGEL is Professor and Director of the Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program at Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis. Prior to this appointment, he was Director of the Forensic Science Program at Michigan State University where he retired after 25 years. Before that he was Professor of Chemistry at Metropolitan State College in Denver, CO. Prior to that appointment he spent three years as a forensic chemist with the Virginia Bureau of Forensic Sciences where he analyzed illicit drugs and trace evidence. Dr. Siegel has testified as an expert witness more than 200 times in seven states as well as Federal and Military courts.
Dr. Siegel is a Fellow with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences where he was awarded the Paul Kirk Award for outstanding service to the Criminalistics section in 2005. He is also a member of the American Chemical Society, the Midwest Association of Forensic Scientists and the Forensic Science Society (UK). He is a member of the International Association for Identification and an Academic Affiliate member of the American Society of Crime Lab Directors.
Dr. Siegel is an active researcher in forensic science with many scientific publications. He currently serves as the principle investigator on a research grant from the National Institute of Justice on ink analysis, his second grant for this work. He is also the author of two textbooks in forensic science and is the editor in chief of the Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences.
Sargur N. Srihari
State University of New York at Buffalo
SARGUR SRIHARI is a SUNY Distinguished Professor at the University of Buffalo in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He is the founding director of the Center of Excellence for Document Analysis and Recognition (CEDAR). He has supervised 30 completed doctoral dissertations. Dr. Srihari is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Library of Medicine. He is chairman of CedarTech, a corporation for university technology transfer.
Dr. Srihari has been general chairman of several international conferences and workshops as follows: Third International Workshop on Handwriting Recognition (IWFHR 93) held in Buffalo, New York in 1993, Second International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition (ICDAR 95), in Montreal, Canada, 1995, Fifth ICDAR 99 held in Bangalore, India and Eighth IWFHR 2002 held in Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario, Canada.
Dr. Srihari has served as chairman of TC-11 (technical committee on Text Processing) of the International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR). He is presently chair of the IAPR Publicity and Publications committee.
Dr. Srihari received a New York State/United University Professions Excellence Award for 1991. He became a Fellow of the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineers (IETE, India) in 1992, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 1995, and a Fellow of the International Association for Pattern Recognition in 1996. He was named a distinguished alumnus of the Ohio State University College of Engineering in 1999.
Dr. Srihari received a B.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics from the Bangalore University in 1967, a B.E. in Electrical Communication Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1970, and a Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science from the Ohio State University, Columbus in 1976.
Sheldon M. Wiederhorn
National Institute of Standards and Technology
SHELDON M. WIEDERHORN is a Senior NIST Fellow with the Material Science and Engineering Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. His degrees are in chemical engineering with a B.S. from Columbia University, School of Engineering and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois. A Fellow and Distinguished Life Member of ACerS, Wiederhorn received the Ross Coffin Purdy and the John Jeppson Awards. He is a member and past chair of the Basic Science Division and an editor of the Journal of The American Ceramic Society. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1991 for “outstanding advancements in the development and application of test methods and basic understanding of the mechanical properties of ceramics.
Office of the Medical Examiner for the State of New Mexico
ROSS E. ZUMWALT, M.D., Chief Medical Investigator of the State of New Mexico, received his undergraduate education from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He did a rotating internship and one year of pathology residency at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, New York. He then completed his pathology residency at the Southwestern Medical School and Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He received his forensic fellowship training at the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office. Dr. Zumwalt served in the United States Navy as director of laboratories at the Navy Regional Medical Center in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He spent two years as deputy coroner in Cleveland, Ohio, and six years as deputy coroner in Cincinnati, Ohio, before coming to the Office of the Medical Investigator in 1987. Dr. Zumwalt is certified in anatomic and forensic pathology by the American Board of Pathology. He was a trustee of the American Board of Pathology from 1993 to 2004. He is currently a member of the Residency Review Committee for Pathology.
Dr. Zumwalt has served as president of the National Association of Medical Examiners and is a member of the following professional organizations: The National Association of Medical Examiners; The American Academy of Forensic Sciences; College of American Pathologists; American Society of Clinical Pathologists; United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology; American Medical Association; and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.