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National Expert On Homicide Investigations Shares Insight With Local Cops

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Vernon Gebreth, a nationally renowned author and consultant, wrote "Practical Homicide Investigation" the "bible" for members of law enforcement. This week, he is sharing his knowledge with investigators from across the Southeast.

When researcher Eric Miller died at Rex Hospital of arsenic poisoning in December 2000, Raleigh police started a full-scale investigation. Today, there is still no arrest, but it is cases like this one they desperately want to solve.

Gebreth acknowledges that forensic science is taking investigations to new heights.

"'CSI' is an interesting program. A lot of what they do can't be done, but it's entertaining," Gebreth said. "Eventually, we'll be able to quantify the pain of a victim."

Gebreth said there is a lot more to the equation.

"I don't think you can be a very good investigator unless you're spent some time on the street. You need to understand behavior, people, dynamics and conditions," he said.

When Stephanie Bennett was raped and killed in north Raleigh, investigators spent days combing her apartment for clues. Gebreth said investigations can be tricky.

"So much of the evidence today is microscopic, so if they can't see it, they destroy it," he said.

Lt. Chris Morgan, lead homicide investigator for the Raleigh Police Department, said Gebreth has a lot to offer investigators.

"We're using our time to our best advantage in trying to pick Mr. Gebreth's brain and get some input from him on anything we can," he said.

Gebreth hopes his knowledge will both help and inspire.

The seminar, which lasts through Wednesday, is sponsored by the Raleigh Police Department.


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