Cold case series to resume

USF students will soon learn how cold police cases can be.

Detective Chuck Massucci of the Tampa Police Department (TPD) will be the first speaker of the semester-long lecture series on cold cases starting Friday.

The series is open to the public.

Cold cases, which have become popularized by television dramas, are cases that have been reopened by new technologies or evidence after being closed for a long time, Massucci said.

“As a student, you would get to apply both the academic and the theoretical,” said Massucci, who occasionally works on cold cases.

Massucci’s lecture will focus on investigative strategies used in cold cases, specifically the unsolved murder of hundreds of men and boys during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 — a topic with which he has had personal experience.

The series, coordinated by forensic anthropology professor Erin Kimmerle, is an  in-depth revival of a similar lecture series conducted two years ago that focused on forensic anthropology. Speakers range from USF faculty members to detectives and law enforcement officials like Massucci.

The lectures were discontinued last year because of a trip to Nigeria attended by Kimmerle, Massucci and other USF professors to investigate the Nigerian Civil War. On the trip, they taught forensic techniques and attempted to shed insight on the case Massucci will discuss during the lecture. This year, both the Nigeria project and the lecture series will continue, Kimmerle said.

Kimmerle said many students have been able to connect with outside organizations through attending the series.

“The lectures were well attended, and we got a good response,” Kimmerle said. “Many students are doing cold case projects with local agencies.”

The series will be held in room 37 of the Social Science building throughout the semester. Upcoming lectures will cover prosecution, open cases, forensics and anthropology.

Kimmerle said the series will contain information on a wide range of topics.

“It’s good to hear from different people working in the area,” she said. “Some series will talk about the scientific aspects of cases, others anthropological. There’s something for everybody.”

Upcoming lectures will feature St. Petersburg Police Department investigator Brenda Stevenson, who will discuss cold cases in anthropology Oct. 8, Eric Houston, a detective from TPD who will discuss strategies and evidence Nov. 12, Rayce Wilson from the Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office, who will speak about forensics Nov. 19 and Jay Pruner from the State Attorney’s Office, who will speak on prosecuting cold cases Dec. 3.