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2012 WPA Presenters

Keynote speaker – International bestselling author Lee Child

Special Guest Speaker - Dr. Elizabeth Murray, renowned forensic anthropologist

Dr. Elizabeth (“Beth”) Murray has been a practicing forensic anthropologist since 1986, and earned her Diplomate certification credential from the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA) in 1999 (she’s one of only approximately 70 people to hold that distinction).  Dr. Murray has held the rank of Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) since 1998, and served the AAFS on a number of national committees, including several years on the Forensic Sciences Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  Dr. Murray earned both her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Biology, and her MA in Anthropology from the University of Cincinnati.  She received her BS in Biology from the College of Mount St. Joseph, in Cincinnati, which is the same school she’s taught at since 1989 as an award-winning professor.

Although the bulk of her regular forensic casework occurs in the Midwest, most often in southwest Ohio where she lives, anthropology has taken Dr. Murray around the world.  In 2004, as part of a team working for National Geographic Television, Dr. Murray was sent to Guatemala to assist and promote the efforts of human rights anthropologists of the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala.  She served as a visiting scientist with the U.S. Army’s Central Identification Laboratory in 2000, and led a team of investigators in the excavation of a 1972 Vietnam War plane crash site in the jungle of Laos.  Dr. Murray was also a consultant to and instructor for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology between 1994-2002, including participation on the morgue team of the American Eagle Flight 4184 mass disaster.  Since 1994, Dr. Murray has been the Forensic Anthropology Consultant on the National Advisory Board of the organization Parents of Murdered Children.  Most recently, from 2009-2011, Dr. Murray served in development, research, and instruction for the Department of Justice/National Institutes of Justice’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) project.

Dr. Murray and her work have been featured on numerous television shows including “Forensic Files” (2001, 2010), “New Detectives” (2003), and “Unsolved Mysteries” (2001).  In 2004-05, she served as scientific consultant and regular cast member for the four-part National Geographic TV production “Buried Secrets” produced by New Dominion Pictures, which first aired in 2006.  Dr. Murray was also the feature anthropologist in five episodes of the “Skeleton Stories” TV series produced by Atlas Media for Discovery Health Channel during 2005-06.

Numerous publications have come out of Dr. Murray’s forensic casework, most of them in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.  Book chapters include “Taphonomic Context of Sharp Force Trauma in Suspected Cases of Human Mutilation and Dismemberment”, in Advances in Forensic Taphonomy:  Method, Theory, and Archaeological Perspectives (CRC Press 2002), and “A glimpse of 19th century Cincinnati as viewed from Potter’s Field: An Exercise in Problem Solving”, in Bodies of Evidence: Reconstructing History Through Skeletal Analysis (Wiley-Liss 1995).  She is currently authoring a chapter for the edited volume Skeletal Trauma Analysis: Case Studies in Context (working title, Wiley-Blackwell anticipated 2013).

Recently, Dr. Murray has turned to writing science books for grades 7-12, and in 2011, Dr. Murray’s book, Death: Corpses, Cadavers, and Other Grave Matters (Lerner 2010), was selected as a “Top-10 Summer Read” by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Her second book for young readers Forensic Identification: Putting a Name and Face on Death will be released in fall 2012 (Lerner 2013).  She plans to continue science writing for a teenage audience, since reading such books in her younger years was a prime inspiration for her own interest in the sciences.

In summer of 2012, Dr. Murray’s 36-lecture DVD series “Trails of Evidence: How Forensic Science Works” will be released by The Teaching Company/The Great Courses.  She is looking forward to a continued relationship with this prestigious multi-media organization.  Dr. Murray is excited to be presenting at the 2012 Writer’s Police Academy and looks forward to meeting fellow writers interested in the forensic sciences.

Special Guest Speaker – Marcia Clark is a former Los Angeles deputy district attorney who was the lead prosecutor on the O.J. Simpson murder case. She cowrote a bestselling nonfiction book about the trial, Without a Doubt, and is a frequent media commentator and columnist on legal issues.

Special Guest Speaker -Dr. Katherine Ramsland has published 44 books and over 1,000 articles, and recently had a #1 bestseller on the Wall Street Journal’s nonfiction list. She teaches forensic psychology and criminal justice at DeSales University in Pennsylvania and offers trainings on psychological aspects of investigations. She writes a blog, “Shadow Boxing” for Psychology Today, speaks widely on serial killers and psychopaths, and is a frequent commentator on crime documentaries. She has appeared on 20/20, 48 Hours, Larry King Live, and numerous cable programs.

WPA Special Guest of Honor, Kathy Harris

Kathy Harris is an author by way of a divine detour into the Nashville entertainment business. She graduated with a B.S. in Communications from Southern Illinois University and has spent the past two decades employed as a marketing director in the Nashville music industry (you might recognize some of her clients, such as the Oak Ridge Boys). Abingdon Press will release her fiction debut titled The Road to Mercy, in Fall 2012. Kathy regularly interviews literary and music guests on her blog at

NYC Detective (ret.) Marco Conelli

Dave Pauly – Bloodstain Interpretation and Cold Case expert. Dave also serves as Director of Applied Forensic Science at Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC.

Dr. Denene Lofland, presenter

Denene Lofland received a Ph.D. in Pathology, with an emphasis in microbiology, from the Medical College of Virginia. As a former biotech company director,Denene managed successful clinical projects that resulted in FDA approval for two new antimicrobial drugs for the treatment of pneumonia and cystic fibrosis. She also supervised several projects, including government-sponsored research which required her to maintain a secret security clearance. Denene is a renowned scientist known for her expertise in DNA, bioterrorism, and new drug discovery. She has published several articles in a variety of scientific journals and was recently asked to contribute to the thirteenth edition of Bailey and Scott’s Diagnostic Microbiology. Denene currently serves as Interim Department Head at Armstrong Atlantic State University.

Author Lee Lofland

Lee Lofland is the author of the Writers Digest bestselling book Police Procedure and Investigation, a Macavity Award nominee for best non-fiction mystery. Lee, a former police detective and recipient of the esteemed Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Award for Valor, is a nationally acclaimed expert on police procedure and crime-scene investigation. As an expert, Lee has appeared on national television, BBC television, and on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. His articles have appeared in newspapers, newsletters, blogs, and in magazines such as The Writer. Lee has served as judge for the ITW Thriller Awards, and he’s a judge for the 2011 MWA Edgar Award for Best TV Episode. Lee’s next release is a true crime tale in an anthology called Masters Of True Crime: Chilling Stories Of Murder And The Macabre (available July 2012).

ATF Special Agent Rick McMahan

Rick McMahan is a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The year 2012 marks his twentieth in law enforcement. Rick’s work wakes him to counties across central and southeastern Kentucky, including Bell County, the area featured in “Moonshiner’s Lament.” His mystery stories have appeared in various publications, including the Mystery Writers of America anthology Death Do Us Part. He also has a story in the International Association of Crime Writers’ forthcoming collection of crime fiction from around the world. In his free time, Rick enjoys writing, and he’s had short stories appear in anthologies such as Techno Noire, Low Down & Derby and the Mystery Writers of America’s Death Do Us Part edited by Harlan Coben.

Rick Brewer

Rick Brewer, BLET Coordinator for GTCC, retired from the High Point Police Department as a Lieutenant.

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Jerry Coble, Assistant Fire Marshall for Guilford County, has been in fire Service for twenty-nine years.Jerry is also Sergeant of the reserve unit for Guilford County Sheriff’s Office. He has fourteen years of law enforcement experience. Jerry is a state certified Fire Fighter, Law Enforcement Officer, and Arson Investigator in addition to being a certified Fire Service and Law Enforcement Instructor.Jerry has an Associate in Applied Science degree in Civil Engineering. He teaches courses for many of the Community Colleges in the area and for the National Fire Academy. He has also had the opportunity to co-teach with the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) in the fields of explosives and explosive regulations in North Carolina.

Jerry Cooper has been a continuously sworn law enforcement officer for more than thirty-six years. The majority of his time has been spent with North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE).Currently, he serves as a reserve officer with the Cleveland, NC Police Department. Jerry’s training specialties include Subject Control and Arrest Techniques (SCAT), Firearms Training Simulator (FATS), and anti-terrorism. Jerry earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Eric Holloman

Eric Holloman, Criminal Justice Department Chair,has been a sworn law officer for approximately nineteen years, serving full-time with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for six years and as a reserve officer with the Woodfin Police Department.Eric has completed over three thousand, two hundred hours of law enforcement related training, including several instructor certifications. Since 1996, he has trainedthousands of law enforcement professionals throughout the United States, primarily in the traffic related field.

William E “Bill” Lanning is a native to Guilford County and a twenty-seven year veteran of GTCC and the Criminal Justice department. He has served as a sworn deputy sheriff for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office for nineteen years in the Field Operations, Criminal Investigation and Training areas of the department. While a criminal investigator, Bill investigated every type of crime from trash dumping to murder and saw numerous desperadoes put behind bars. He has taught college courses in Crime Scene Photography, Organized Crime, Criminology, Corrections and Crisis Intervention. You never know what’s in store when Bill Lanning is in front of the classroom. One thing’s for sure, you will learn something!

Stan Lawhorne is a veteran of the US Air Force and retired Greensboro Police Officer.Stan spent his career in the patrol division. For the last seventeen years with the Greensboro Police Department, he was a Special Response Team (SWAT) member. Currently, he is a field training officer and a Subject Control and Arrest Technique (SCAT) instructor which means he teaches officers self defense and arrest tactics such as handcuffing and searching prisoners, and baton techniques.Stan has been a SCAT instructor for twelve years. He has taught at the Greensboro Police Academy, Rockingham Community College, Davidson County Community College, Alamance County Community College, and other agencies who attend Guilford Technical Community College.

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Mike MacIntosh – Bomb and HazMat Expert

Sgt. Catherine Netter

Catherine Netter is a Sergeant with the Guilford County Sheriff’s office.

Susan Powell, Associate Professor Criminal Justice at Guilford Technical Community College where she has worked since 1992. Prior to teaching, Susan served as a Corporal with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department for five years.She has Master’s degree in Education with a minor in Forensic Science. She believes Kathy Reichs should write faster and can’t wait to find out what Sue Grafton comes up with for “X” and “Z.”

Instructor, Andy Rusell

Andy Russell served as a police officer for thirty years. Currently, he is an Associate Professor in Criminal Justice at Guilford Technical Community College.Andy has an Associates in Applied Science in Criminal Justice from the Community College of the Air Force and a Bachelors in Applied Science in Justice Policies and Studies from Guilford College. Additionally, he has a Masters of Science in Adult Education & Leadership from North Carolina Agricultural &Technical State University.Andy has certificates in Advanced Law Enforcement and the Administrative Officers Management Program from North Carolina State University. He is a certified North Carolina Instructor in Basic Law Enforcement Training and Firearms. He is also a Certified Instructor in Chemical Munitions, O.C. Spray, Distraction Devices and Specialty Impact Munitions.

Tim Fitts, a veteran firefighter, serves as Fire Occupational Extension Coordinator in charge of all Con Ed certification and non-certification classes in Fire and Rescue subjects to members of North Carolina fire departments and rescue squads.

More fabulous presenters on the way!

Literary Agents

Holly McClure founded Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency hoping to help a few Southern writers get published. Today the agency has five agents who represent writers from all parts of the country and work with most genres. She is a frequent speaker and teacher at writers conferences and workshops and loves to see new authors find success.

In May 2010, she completed several years of preparation and was ordained into the priesthood of the Celtic Christian Church.

Her writing career took a back seat while she nurtured Sullivan Maxx, but she has authored both fiction and non- fiction.

* More agents on the way!