PBS Show Highlights Florida Death Row Case Recreated at Alachua CSI Academy

Dec 13, 2013, 08:00 ET from Apollidon Learning

ALACHUA, Fla., Dec. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The science behind a bloody toe print that sealed the fate of a death row inmate owes its origins to a fictional character.

From blood to ballistics, from fingerprints to footprints, Sherlock Holmes was 120 years ahead of his time. Now, with the help of the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Academy of Florida in Alachua County, a new PBS documentary, "How Sherlock Changed the World," examines how the world's most legendary fictional detective impacted the development of real criminal investigations and forensic techniques.

Filmed partially in Alachua County, the documentary, premiering December 17, showcases how investigators protect crime scenes from contamination and search for evidence the naked eye can easily miss.  

For investigator Karen Smith, that tiny but crucial piece of evidence was a bloody toe print. She inadvertently discovered it at the scene of the brutal 2005 sexual assault and fatal stabbing of Linda Volum in Jacksonville, a case Smith played a crucial role in.

Smith, a self-professed Sherlock Holmes geek, recreated the scene where Volum died at the CSI Academy's 28,000-square foot interactive facility.

"Sherlock used a lot of deductive reasoning, taking pieces and making a whole out of it," Smith said. "That's what we do at crime scenes."

The toe print helped the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office cement the case against Donald Banks, who was convicted of the rape and murder of Volum and sentenced to death in 2008.

"Actual CSI work isn't what you see on television. It's a lot more meticulous, scientific and less dramatic," said CSI Academy Forensic Education Program Director Jon Wierzbowski.

Studies show that cases with properly found and processed physical evidence have a much better chance of being solved, Wierzbowski said.

The PBS documentary also explores the history of Sherlock's techniques from the 1880s to the present, showing how the scientific methods he introduced to the world have evolved into the stunning CSI-style forensic labs of Scotland Yard and the FBI.

"How Sherlock Changed the World" premieres on PBS on Tuesday, December 17, from 9 to 11 p.m.

The CSI Academy will offer its next "Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation" course from January 6 - 10. The class is open to anyone upon completion of a background check. To register, visit csiacademy.com.

About the CSI Academy of Florida

The CSI Academy of Florida is an educational and training facility for individuals, industry professionals and law enforcement officers interested in crime scene investigation. The innovative curriculum includes courses on crime scene photography, recovery and identification of human remains, death investigation, blood evidence analysis, trace evidence and more. The Alachua, Florida campus includes a 28,000-square foot building and access to 60-plus wooded acres designed for the practical application of forensic science and crime scene reconstruction. For more information about the academy and full course descriptions, visit csiacademyflorida.com.

About Apollidon Learning

Apollidon Learning partners with leading education institutions to provide effective marketing outreach programs to provide high-quality student engagement. Apollidon's clients include the University of Florida, University of South Florida and Oregon State University, among others. For more information, visit apollidon.com.

Media Contact: Susan Kelly, Apollidon Learning, 813.818.9100, Susan.Kelly@Apollidon.com

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com

SOURCE Apollidon Learning