New Orleans rape-kit backlog will be tested by start of 2012, police say

Published: Thursday, October 13, 2011,  8:00 AM

New Orleans police officials said Wednesday more than 800 untested rape kits will be tested by the beginning of next year, clearing up a backlog that includes physical evidence from sexual assaults dating to the late 1980s. Police Commander Paul Noel, who heads the NOPD’s criminal investigations division, said the testing will be done by Marshall University in West Virginia, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Police’s crime laboratory. Testing of all kits collected by the NOPD since January is done by a DNA specialist hired by the NOPD who works out of the state lab

View Link to Entire Article

Dr. Fenger inductee for Greater Huntington Wall of Fame | Herald-Dispatch

City of Huntington to recognize 2011 Wall of Fame inductees

August 10, 2011 @ 12:00 AM,  The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON — The City of Huntington Foundation has announced its 2011 inductees for the Greater Huntington Wall of Fame.

The inductees are: Thomas J. Bell; Terry W. Fenger, Ph.D..; Maxine Kitchen Loudermilk; Robert E. “Bob” Tweel; and Ron E. Smith…

TERRY W. FENGER, Ph.D..: Fenger was born and raised in northern Illinois, and attended Northern Illinois University Dekalb, Ill., and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where he received his doctorate in microbiology in 1976. He conducted post-doctoral research on the replication of measles virus and herpes virus infection of the eye. When that work was complete, he accepted a position of assistant professor of microbiology at Marshall University. Fenger was involved in the establishment of the Marshall University Forensic Science Center through his work with the West Virginia State Police Crime Laboratory. After Fenger’s work in the Glen Dale Woodall case, where a man was acquitted of rape through DNA evidence, the professor developed graduate level courts to workers in the crime lab. That program has since grown into a highly successful educational, research and service center that addressed the need of the national forensic science community and brings recognition and economic benefits to Marshall University and Huntington…

Read full article

Forensics lab dissects the tech | Charleston Daily Mail

Tuesday August 9, 2011

by Zack Harold, Daily Mail staff

As with everything else, crime is moving online. And thanks to experts at the West Virginia State Police Digital Forensics Unit, there’s a new way to dust for fingerprints.


Cpl. Robert Boggs runs the unit’s Huntington lab, housed in the Marshall University Forensic Science Center.


A self-confessed geek, Boggs has been hunting down and catching digital criminals since 2006. He was the only investigator in the lab at the time. He now has help from Chris Vance, the Huntington unit’s mobile forensics expert, as well as university graduate students…

Read full article

Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department awards the Marshall University Forensic Science Center with commendation

Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department awards the Marshall University Forensic Science Center with commendation

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall University Forensic Science Center was awarded a commendation from the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department in appreciation of providing intensive DNA training to its forensic analysts.

Dr. Terry W. Fenger, director of Marshall’s Forensic Science Center, said it is an honor to receive recognition from Metropolitan Police Department Chief of Police Cathy Lanier for the collaborative effort between the agencies to develop and implement a customized DNA analysis training program conducted at the center.

The purpose of the “DNA boot camp” training program was to prepare four forensic examiners to become qualified to perform DNA analysis on evidence.

Fenger said the Forensic Science Center considered it a privilege to further develop the capabilities of the crime laboratory’s excellent staff. “The forensic scientists from the Metropolitan Police Department were enthusiastic and energetic about their training, and they showed dedication to providing essential forensic services they perform for the justice system,” he said.

Peter Newsham, Assistant Chief of Police of the Metropolitan Police Department, said the department was very excited to be given the opportunity to have its DNA examiners trained at the Marshall University Forensic Science Center. 

“Marshall University is recognized for its world-class DNA training program, and the training our examiners have received will give the Metropolitan Police Department’s fledgling laboratory a great start,” he said. “The courts, prosecutors and the law enforcement community will know that our examiners have completed the best training program that is available.”

The Metropolitan Police Department requested assistance from Marshall’s Forensic Science Center because it is in the process of expanding its capabilities. Training new analysts is labor-intensive, and laboratory staff who provide training are also tasked with processing cases. The training program alleviated time constraints at the crime laboratory so that experienced analysts could concentrate on forensic laboratory work to solve crimes while the Forensic Science Center provided training to advance the skills of the four forensic scientists.

In addition, the District of Columbia is building a state-of-the-art Consolidated Forensic Laboratory to be completed in 2012 that will house the public health lab, the chief medical examiner’s office and the police department’s crime lab. Training the forensic examiners helped with preparation for a seamless transition into the new facility.

The Metropolitan Police Department’s Crime Laboratory is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory accreditation board-International (ASCLD/LAB-International). It currently consists of a Forensic Biology Unit and a Trace Evidence Unit.

In April, Fenger kicked off the first phase of the training program at the current Washington, D.C., lab facility by providing a week of instruction for four hours daily on molecular biology, focusing on DNA.

Subsequently, the four examiners came to the Marshall University Forensic Science Center to attend training sessions covering DNA analysis on state-of the art instrumentation, forensic Y-STR analysis for identification of male DNA, and relationship testing from April through June 2010.  Three examiners completed five weeks of training.

Krystyna H. Hopkinson, a forensic scientist who has worked at the Metropolitan Police Department Crime Laboratory for six years, is one of the four forensic examiners who attended the DNA boot camp.  Over a span of six months, she trained at Marshall’s Forensic Science Center for 11 weeks to gain additional practical experience.

Hopkinson spent an additional six weeks at Marshall throughout July to September, alternating two weeks at the Forensic Science Center doing practical exercises and two weeks at the Washington, D.C., Crime Laboratory working and completing additional training assignments.

A serologist, Hopkinson examines evidence for the presence of blood or other biological fluids and takes a cutting from it in preparation for DNA analysis by a qualified examiner. Successful completion of the training program will qualify her as a DNA analyst so she can perform the DNA lab work herself.

She presented letters of commendation to the following Marshall University Forensic Science Center DNA analysts for their roles in providing training to the crime lab staff: Jason Chute, DNA technical leader of the forensic DNA laboratory; Justin Godby, DNA training coordinator; and Josh Stewart, training officer. These DNA analysts also work on forensic cases for state and local crime laboratories in West Virginia and across the nation.

Hopkinson said she was thankful for the opportunity. “I had a wonderful and rewarding experience at the Marshall University Forensic Science Center and during my stay in Huntington,” she said.  “It was a unique experience to see the difference between the variations in lifestyle of a big city, and the people of Huntington were very warm and friendly.”

At the Metropolitan Police Department, the forensic examiners are continuing their DNA analyst training, which includes competency testing, oral boards and moot court testimony.

The training was made possible by National Institute of Justice cooperative agreements in support of training forensic analysts and assisting the state and local crime laboratories with critical needs.

Read original press release:

Forensic center works outside spotlight – Herald Dispatch

November 08, 2010 – BETH HENDRICKS, The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON — There are no movie stars or television cameras, but there is a lot of real-life CSI drama behind the scenes in Huntington.

The Marshall University Forensic Science Center, whose lobby used to be the former Marshall locker room at Fairfield Stadium, is housed in two buildings off of Charleston Avenue as well as the Crime Scene House at 524 5th Ave. While director Dr. Terry Fenger shuns comparisons to the CBS television drama, it is obvious during a tour of the facilities that very dramatic things are indeed happening behind the doors.

Read more

Marshall University’s Forensic Science Center at Forefront of DNA Technology – WSAZ

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — The DNA that has helped police pinpoint a new suspect in the 1987 Huntington Mall rapes went through the labs at Marshall University’s Forensic Science Center.

“It shows the criminal justice system never sleeps.” says Dr. Terry Fenger, the director Marshall University’s Forensic Science Center.
“we process upwards of 3000 DNA cases for West Virginia State Police each year.”

It’s all anonymous. The DNA samples are sent, processed and sent back to WV State Police. It’s a partnership more than 15 years old.

“The original Woodall case, that’s when I originally made contact with the WV state police; that’s what really initiated this partnership.” says Dr. Fenger, “I should point out this partnership is a model for the country.”

Since Glen Dale Woodall was convicted of the Huntington Mall Rapes of 1987, WV law has changed. Now every convicted felon must submit to DNA sampling. Currently there are more than 11 thousand in the state’s database.

Watch video or read more.

Funding for MU forensics center passes Senate committee – WV Gazette

WV Gazette: September 23, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved nearly $6 million in federal research funds for the Marshall University Forensic Science Center, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall and U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Carte Goodwin announced in a news release…
Read more:

Digital evidence conference begins Tuesday at Marshall University Forensic Science Center
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Appalachian Institute of Digital Evidence (AIDE), a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving professionals and students of the legal, technical and business communities that work with digital evidence, is sponsoring its first conference at the Marshall University Forensic Science Center. Each day will focus on one of the four sub-groups of digital evidence: digital forensics, electronic discovery, law enforcement and network security.

John Sammons, an assistant professor in Marshall’s Integrated Science and Technology Department, helped found the AIDE to serve as a resource to help professionals better handle the intricacies of digital evidence in both civil and criminal litigation.

Tuition for the event is free, but registration is required. For more information, contact Sammons at 304-633-3411or visit

WHAT: Appalachian Institute of Digital Evidence Conference for lawyers, judges, digital forensic examiners, network security professionals and law enforcement personnel

WHERE: Marshall University Forensic Science Center

WHEN: Tuesday, July 27-Friday, July 30; Tuesday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHO: The Appalachian Institute of Digital Evidence is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving the professionals and students of the legal, technical and business communities that work with digital evidence.

SPONSORS: Sponsors for the event include Jackson Kelly Attorneys at Law, AccessData, Second Creek Technologies, Marshall University Forensic Science Center, Marshall University Department of Integrated Science & Technology and Marshall University Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology.

Art student donates sculpture to the Forensic Science Center

May 23, 2010 – PAUL SEBERT of the The Herald-Dispatch.
Ellen Fure, a junior undergraduate student majoring in art and design at Marshall University, donated her sculpture titled “Individuality” to the Marshall University Forensic Science Center.
Fure, who is pursuing an emphasis in sculpture, created a relief of her thumbprint on a 4-foot by 5-foot piece of artwork constructed from oak plywood.

Designs for two Marshall University building projects recognized by AIA

April 19, 2010, Dave Wellman, Marshall University – HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The designs for two recent building projects at Marshall University have been recognized by the West Virginia chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)…The Forensic Science Center was constructed in three phases and includes high-tech classrooms, DNA training and research laboratories, a digital evidence laboratory, chemistry and microscopy laboratories, and offices.

Edward Tucker tops at architecture awards | MUFSC facility among the honored

April 17, 2010 – JeanTarbett Hardimen, The Herald-Dispatch — A building where patrons celebrate the written word, a facility that offers cutting edge forensic science education and a space that serves as a showpiece for Marshall’s men’s and women’s basketball programs all brought home awards Saturday night for Edward Tucker Architects of Huntington…