Note: The mature and sometimes graphic nature of the subject matter in this course may be disturbing for sensitive students. In some cases, crime scene photos have been slightly modified to make them less disturbing. Students are encouraged to discuss with their parents/guardians their mutual comfort level with engaging in the activities required in this course before participating in it.
In this immersive, learn-by-doing course, you will play the role of junior investigator working on the case of a woman who has died from a gunshot wound. Your job is to follow the investigation from start to finish and determine whether the woman's death was a suicide (i.e., she killed herself) or a homicide (i.e., her husband killed her). As part of your job, you will need to closely examine crime scene photographs and other evidence to conduct your analysis and keep good records of your findings and the evidence collected. You will also need to prepare expert testimony and testify in court.
The course comprises the following tasks:
- Begin the investigation by reviewing a wide variety of evidence.
- Learn to draw a diagram of the crime scene, a very useful tool for testimony in court.
- Review autopsy and ballistics findings to help uncover what took place on the night of the incident.
- Reach a conclusion about what happened in the Lawson case.
- Prepare a testimony using the evidence provided in the course.
- Testify "in court" and debate what happened based on the evidence.
- Wrap up the case.
Students will meet as a large group over Zoom and will do some work in team breakout rooms. A knowledgeable mentor will always be available to provide help, advice, and feedback on your work; the mentor will also facilitate regular group discussions. The course has no prerequisites, but the Mystery Medical Course is recommended.
This course will run from 4:00-6:00PM PDT Monday through Friday for one week. Course activities and class meetings are facilitated by industry experts who partner with UC Davis.