Press Release, For Immediate Release from Dr. Deaton
On February 12, 2018, members of the Cherokee County Coroner’s Office attended the Medicolegal Death Investigation Academy at Jacksonville State University; Center for Applied Forensics in Anniston, Alabama. Paul McDonald, Chief Deputy Coroner and Lamar Williams, a newly appointed Deputy Coroner completed the academy and received their certificates on Thursday February 15, 2018; and each has been equipped with a forensic evidence collection kit through a grant obtained by JSU.
The Medicolegal Death Investigators academy-topics of instruction include: Alabama Medicolegal System and Laws; Processing of Medicolegal Death Scenes; Death Scene Photography; Assessment of Human Remains and Postmortem Interval; Decomposition and Recovery of Skeletal Remains; Forensic/Postmortem Toxicology; Identification of Human Remains; Blunt Force Trauma; Sharp Force Trauma, Asphyxial Deaths; Motor Vehicle Related Deaths; Investigation of Deaths Related to Fire and Explosions; Interview and Interaction with Families; Investigation of Deaths Related to Child Abuse and SIDS.
“This has been an outstanding training opportunity! I would encourage all Coroners, Deputy Coroners and Law Enforcement Investigators throughout the state to attend this Academy” says Paul McDonald.
“The Center For Applied Forensics (CFAF) And Department of Criminal Justice at Jacksonville State University is an invaluable resource for training and investigation assistance in Cherokee and surrounding counties.I was privileged to attend the “Medicolegal Death Investigation Academy” at CFAF and absorbed hours of valuable lectures given by veteran investigators in the field of forensics. I am very confident that the lessons learned will be an asset when applied at any death scene, ” states Lamar Williams.
Dr. Jeremy Deaton and Paul McDonald have made application to the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. Each must successfully complete 300 tasks in the presence of a Forensic Pathologist (or another pre-approved competent practitioner -currently working in the field), that must be approved by ABMDI; to sign-off on the specific task with a notarized signature. Twenty-three publications are the suggested reading requirement for the written registry examination and 18 months is the time allowed for completion of the process.
Dr. Deaton states, “our office is very fortunate for these two men taking the four days off from their regular schedules to attend this training at no cost to the county. Their training enhances the credibility our our office’s death investigation procedures and provides Cherokee County with highly trained and skilled field investigators. With the ever increasing caseload to our office, the ability to have trained investigators to respond at all hours of the day is a blessing to myself as well as the citizens in the county.”
(Pictured from left to right, Paul D. McDonald, Chief Deputy Coroner, Joseph Scott Morgan, JSU Center for Applied Science, and Lamar Williams newly appointed deputy coroner)
Information on the credentials of the instructors:
Instructor: (Information taken from JSU website) Joseph Scott Morgan, M.F.S., F-ABMDI, is the Distinguished Scholar of Applied Forensics at Jacksonville State University where he holds the faculty rank of Associate Professor of Applied Forensics. Morgan holds a Master of Forensic Sciences degree from National University and is a Board-Certified Fellow of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. In 1985 Joseph Scott Morgan began working for the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office in New Orleans. During his tenure as the Senior Investigator with the Fulton County Medical Examiner in Atlanta, Georgia, Morgan helped establish the national training guidelines for Medicolegal Death Investigators. To this day, Joseph Scott Morgan remains one of less than 200 people nationwide to attain “Fellow” status through the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. Morgan is considered one of the leading experts on the Coroner System in the United States. He has a particular research interest in the areas of:
- Estimation of time since death
- Injury assessment on the scenes of deaths
- Mass fatality investigations
- Training curricula and development for state coroner systems
- Notification of next of kin methodologies
- Impact of notification of next of kin on practitioners
- Forensic practice in rural settings
Joseph Scott Morgan has appeared, for the past two years, on both Headline News and CNN as the on-air forensics expert. In 2013 Morgan was named “Georgia Author of the Year” for his memoir entitled “Blood Beneath My Feet: The Journey of a Southern Death Investigator”.
Instructor: (Information taken from JSU website) Mark Hopwood is the Senior Forensic Scientist at the Center for Applied Forensics at Jacksonville State University. He began his career in the forensics field in 1989 as a Forensic Scientist with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. In 2012, he transitioned to Jacksonville State University to serve as the Senior Forensic Scientist for the Center for Applied Forensics. He teaches undergraduate level forensic classes for the Department of Criminal Justice. He has over 26 years of crime scene experience and still actively processes crime scenes and testifies in judicial proceedings.
Mr. Hopwood received a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1988. He received a M.S.F.S (Master of Science in Forensic Science) degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1992 and a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree from Jacksonville State University in 1998. He is a certified law enforcement officer through the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, a Diplomate through the American Board of Criminalistics, a certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst through
Instructor: (Information taken from JSU website) J. Shane Golden is a Forensic Scientist for the Center for Applied Forensics at Jacksonville State University and serves as the Technical Leader. He has been employed with Jacksonville State University since 2012. He teaches undergraduate level forensic classes for the Department of Criminal Justice. Prior to his employment at JSU, he was employed at the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in the Implied Consent Division and the Drug Chemistry Division as a Forensic Scientist. Mr. Golden has over 11 years of crime scene investigation experience. Mr. Golden received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Furman University in 2001. He received an M.S.F.S (Masters of Science in Forensic Science) degree from the University of Alabama, Birmingham in 2004. He is a Certified Law Enforcement Officer though the Alabama Peace Officers Standards & Training Commission, a Certified Crime Scene Investigator through the International Association for Identification, as well as a Certified Fire Investigator I & II through the Alabama Fire College.
Instructor: (Information taken from JSU website) Chris Haney is an instructor in Criminal Justice. He currently holds a M.S. in Criminal Justice from Jacksonville State University and is working on his doctorate degree at the University of Alabama. Mr. Haney worked in the field of law enforcement for twenty-two years. He served time in all areas of police work: patrol, community policing, school resource, investigations, narcotics, and tactical. He worked crimes of sexual and physical abuse and homicide of children for over nine years and spent six years as a supervisor with the Etowah County Drug Task Force. He served as assistant team leader and as the lead hostage negotiator for the Gadsden/Etowah County Joint Special Operations Group. He spent twenty years as a use-of-force instructor. Haney has won several awards including Life-Saver, Public Achievement Awards, and was named Police Officer of the year seven times.
Haney’s main levels of interests include homicide investigations, interview and interrogation, and the psychology of criminal conduct.