Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Criminal Investigation Students Interview "Suspects" in Mock Murder Case

This is the second post in a short series that covers a mock murder case students in the Criminal Investigation (CJ 200) course are investigating.  Check out our other post on the processing of the crime scene here.

One morning in September, an unresponsive student, Hannah Russell, was discovered by an Ashland University staff member in a lounge near the Criminal Justice offices.  Students in the introductory Criminal Investigation class have been tasked with investigating Hannah's death to determine the details of the case and who committed the crime so charges can be brought against the perpetrator.

As part of their investigation, students interviewed two potential suspects, Wilma and Susan, who had been in an argument with Hannah the day she died.

Investigators Michael Cain (left) and Daniel Medvetz (right)
interview potential suspect Wilma.

Investigators Michael Cain (left) and Daniel Medvetz (right) interview potential suspect Susan. 

During the interviews, the students sought to determine the details of the crime and the involvement of the two suspects using various techniques learned in class, including the difference between interviewing and interrogating, how to help a reluctant witness to talk, how to detect deception, when to mirandize a suspect, and how to properly formulate questions.

"The skills the students learned not only apply practically to criminal justice, but they also apply for researchers who are surveying people by asking them questions," says Professor Hedrick, the Criminal Justice professor who teaches the course. "In fact, there is a lot of crossover application between criminal investigations and academic research methods."

Though the interviews are part of a class, the challenges of interviewing a suspect and the techniques used to overcome those challenges, such as those shown in the video below, are very similar to what investigators might encounter in a real investigation.

Check out the video below to see Michael and Daniel's interview of Susan. 

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