SUMMER | 2013
THE WOODS MAGAZINE
First there was CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation, then CSI: Miami and
CSI: New York. Then came CSI:
William Woods University.
A judge and bailiff were “murdered” in
WWU’s Weitzman Model Courtroom. While
most WWU students were taking written
final exams, the students of the crime scene
investigation class pulled out their notepads
and cameras and searched for clues to solve
That, along with a written paper detailing
their findings, was their final exam.
While having a crime scene scenario may
seem more appealing than a written final, I
found the exercise to be more stressful and
one of the students, said.
However,” she added, “for this class it
served as an excellent demonstration of all
the skills we had learned from the classroom.
It proves how demanding the job of a crime
scene investigator is.”
For their exam, I asked my students to
enter into a crime scene and document the
evidence they might find,” said
WWU assistant professor of legal studies.
The students were not given any hints
going into the exercise. All they had was the
information given by a janitor who had been
first on the scene, and he had only witnessed
the aftermath of the crime. “With the
evidence found, they were asked to create
of photo log and use the evidence collected
for the complete crime scene report,” said
Ahsens, a retired Missouri assistant attorney
general with 30 years of experience as a
criminal trial prosecutor.
The two victims,
the bailiff, were
members of another one of Ahsens’ classes
and volunteered to help. Other volunteers
who took turns acting as the murderer trying
The CSI class divided into groups of two
or three and signed up for a one-hour session
during which they would investigate the
crime scene. They were tasked with finding
fingerprints, locating the weapons used in the
murder and documenting blood splatters on
the victims and around the room.
Anything else suspicious, such as the
cell phone found in the bushes outside the
courtroom, was “bagged and tagged” as well.
It was intimidating having to work a
designed crime scene because of the all the