By FRANCESCA MAYR ’16
At six o’clock on a drowsy Wednesday evening, 25 enthusiastic students in the Forensic Science Club took time out of their busy science-lab-filled schedules and gathered in a seminar room, eager to hear forensic toxicologist Dr. Barry Logan speak about his work on the Casey Anthony trial. About 15 minutes later, after realizing that room did not have a projector, the group reconvened in Boyer Hall, where they eased into their seats, enjoyed pizza and listened to Logan explain how he got started in the field of forensic science.
“I really loved taking basic principles in science and applying them to solve everyday problems,” he said. This intro proved invaluable for listeners, some of whom hoped to follow in his footsteps. Instead of delving directly into the Casey Anthony trial, one of the most splashy and sensational aspects of his career, Logan took a bit of time to touch on the quieter but equally satisfying facets of his career: working for a non-profit, helping Arcadia University enhance its Forensic Science master’s degree program and joining NMS Labs.
Only after laying a bit of groundwork and offering background did Logan dig into the homicide trial from 2011. He focused on the limitations of forensic science and how much the prosecutor’s case in the Casey Anthony trial depended on substandard evidence. “Cases go to trial with evidence in dispute. This is one great example,” he insisted.
During the trial, Logan was tasked with determining whether the prosecutor had obtained “sound science.” In one of his most powerful statements, Logan explained to the group of future forensic toxicologists, CSI enthusiasts and science buffs: “You’re in court to speak for the evidence—to advocate for the evidence.” In short: Interpreting the evidence correctly and speaking on its behalf allows the truth to be made known.
“Though I don’t plan on having a career in forensics, I can see more clearly how it works to make sure innocent people have a fair trial,” said Isobel Mancini ’16.
The event was the first success of many to come for the Forensic Science Club, which has exciting endeavors on the horizon., “[We’re] actively working on contacting other interesting speakers from a range of disciplines to come and speak,” said Sarah Wolf ’14, co-president of the Forensic Science Club. “We also are planning on collaborating with the Honors program for a murder mystery dinner fundraiser, which will be a very fun event.”