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2022 Case Studies

2023 Case Studies Coming Soon

CASE STUDY: Adult Sexual Assault Prosecutions: The Right & Wrong in Jury Selection - Gabrielle Massey, Ekua Asserbill

Gabrielle Massey, Ekua Asserbill

The defendant was arrested in March 2018 after a standoff with law enforcement in which he barricaded himself and his estranged wife in his home with a loaded pistol and refused to exit for 11 hours. Hostage negotiators worked with the Defendant to let his wife to leave and eventually to resolve the standoff peacefully. After his wife safely exited the home, law enforcement learned that she had been brutally beaten, restrained, sexually assaulted, and threatened at gunpoint by the Defendant. This case study will reshape how we select prospective jurors in adult sexual assault cases, particularly when there is a previous sexual relationship.  The presenters will provide portions of the voir dire used at trial and discuss hypotheticals, scaled questioning, and discussion questions. Additionally, the presenters will solicit discussion from the attendees about ways to best identify those who can sympathize with adult sexual assault survivors. 

CASE STUDY: The Case of Albert Ayala & Why Every Sexual Assault Kit Must Be Tested - Leighton D’Antoni, Amy Derrick, Daniel Flannery, Angela Williamson

Leighton D’Antoni, Amy Derrick, Rachel Lovell, Angela Williamson

Albert Ayala raped women of all ages, races, strangers, women he knew, and even women with whom he was in a relationship. Ultimately, Ayala was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and received a life sentence. However, the forgotten tragedy and lesson learned in the Albert Ayala case is that if law enforcement had tested the sexual assault kit of his former girlfriend, Ayala would have been identified years before he continued to rape multiple other women. Had police tested her kit, the DNA would have matched other unsolved aggravated sexual assault cases where the sexual assaults kits had been tested. Instead, Ayala ended up pleading guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor assault and was free to continue committing aggravated sexual assaults. This case study will highlight the negative butterfly effects from failing to test the sexual assault kits in known offender and domestic violence cases. 

CASE STUDY: A Devil in Disguise: The Deification of Brandon Sampson - Jessica Trevizo

Jessica Trevizo

Deification is defined as the action of making someone or something into a god; treating a mere mortal as someone godly. This case study will chronicle the search for a young woman whose lifeless body was discovered in the defendant’s garage, naked, wrapped in a blanket. During the course of the investigation, it became clear that the defendant was not just a heartless murderer but also a “gorilla” pimp who considered himself a god and referred to himself as the “Messiah.” The mother of two young daughters had suffered blunt force trauma to her head and two gunshots to her body. The presenter will demonstrate the evolution of a trafficker who thought himself to be a god and whose abusive behavior escalated over the years, empowered by a systematic breakdown in the criminal justice system that led him to believe he was untouchable. 

CASE STUDY: Dangerous Consequences: When a "Good" Plea Bargain in a Criminal Case Unintentionally Becomes a Bad Outcome in a Family Matter - Rachel Elkin, Sara Barnett

Rachel Elkin, Sara Barnett

Criminal prosecutors are tasked with protecting the public and seeking justice against an offender through the criminal justice system. However, prosecutors are not always able to consider how the deals they reach or the pleas that they accept can have serious ramifications on a victim’s ability to get justice through the family court system against the same abuser. This case study will walk through one Genesis client’s case and examine how an abuser, arrested at least four times for assault family violence, was able to successfully gain full custody of two little boys and paint the victim as a dangerous abuser, and how the Genesis Legal Team was able to get the children back to safety with their mother.  

CASE STUDY: Diligence, Digital Evidence, & Dumb Luck: The Investigation of Brenton Wade Richmond - John Trenary

John Trenary

On February 7th, 2019, Brenton Richmond murdered Tammy Hopper and Erik Jacobs after sneaking into Tammy’s house. Richmond had been employed as a police officer until 2002 when he threatened his estranged wife with a pistol and engaged in an armed standoff with SWAT. Richmond used his law enforcement training and experience to attempt to thwart investigative efforts, destroying evidence, creating alibis, and voluntarily providing investigators with little, tangible evidentiary information. Richmond’s failure to consider digital evidence when he committed his crimes provided a treasure chest of investigative information. Surveillance videos, smart phones, social media evidence, Wi-Fi networking information, wearable devices, Internet history, lottery records and more were gathered and analyzed. The ongoing review of evidence to develop new information from digital data became a driving theme throughout the investigation. This case study will showcase digital innovation by providing practical learning points and relatable take-aways for current and future investigations.

CASE STUDY: A Fight for Justice: A Pakistan Story - Zoe Richards

Zoe Richards

Being at the epicenter of South Asia with a rich history, Pakistan has been in the news of late for all the wrong reasons; from a fledgling democracy on the cusp of military rule, to the nexus with 9/11 and terrorism and most importantly for this conference – Pakistan’s ranking of 153rd out of 156 countries on gender inequality. Due to the conflation of Islamic laws with the criminal justice system, Pakistan is operating in a structure where women’s rights come last. However, despite these challenges, there are everyday heroes in our midst – prosecutors and judges from Pakistan who not only work on cases involving crimes against women but are also committed to sharing their insights, learning, experiences, and the unique conditions of Pakistan – with the world. This case study will highlight the challenges and triumphs involved in the fight for justice related to two Pakistani prosecutorial cases. 

CASE STUDY: Hidden in Plain Sight: The Operation of Residential Brothels - George Duarte, Jeffrey Richards

George Duarte, Jeffrey Richards

In response to a Providence citizen expressing concern about brothels operating within residential neighborhoods amongst businesses, churches, and schools, the Providence Police Department’s Special Victims Unit conducted a long-term undercover investigation. Subsequently, Detective George Duarte, assigned to the Organized Crime and Intelligence Unit, began to focus on a husband-and-wife duo who detectives later learned were responsible for operating a large-scale sex smuggling ring which stretched from the city of Providence to the borders of the Rio Grande. This case study will explore what was found to be a very organized and sophisticated “family business” who used a scheme of real estate transactions to buy and sell homes and businesses that would be used as indoor brothels. Topics such as counter-surveillance and police detection networks by the offenders and investigative surveillance technology by crime intelligence units will also be discussed. 

CASE STUDY: House of Horrors: The Case of Immanuel Humes - Melissa Hoppmeyer, Thea Zumwalt

Melissa Hoppmeyer, Thea Zumwalt

The Humes Sisters were shielded from CPS by homeschooling until the day their father beat their 5yearold non-verbal sister to death. It was then that the truth of house of horrors came to light. This case study will dive into the State of Maryland v. Immanuel Humes and Jasmine Stevenson, both of whom were charged with neglect, child abuse, and murder for the maltreatment and neglect of their children. The presenters will review the case investigation and ultimate decisions to charge both of the parents, as well as how domestic violence plays a role in child abuse and how Ms. Stevenson’s abuse played a role in the neglect and abuse of her children. The case study will examine the discovery of the abuse and the decision to get Ms. Stevenson treatment rather than incarceration for her crimes. 

CASE STUDY: Insult to Injury: When a Prosecutor’s Daughter is Trafficked - Miiko Anderson

Miiko Anderson

As a prosecuting attorney, Miiko Anderson was no stranger to dealing with cases involving brutal and heinous acts, having tried some of the most violent sexual assault, domestic violence, and gang cases in her community. However, in 2014, life as Ms. Anderson knew it was turned upside down when she learned that her daughter was forcibly taken out of state as a victim of domestic sex trafficking–happening right under her nose. From the unique perspective of both a prosecutor and mother of a victim, Ms. Anderson will provide a rare and raw account of her story and the lessons she learned as a result. The presenter will provide insight into how denial, guilt, and shame serve as barriers to recovery, highlight the impact of secondary trauma, and share how to turn life’s most painful experiences into a driving force to empower and protect others.

CASE STUDY: Looks Can Be Deceiving: Catching Smugglers & Traffickers of Women & Drugs - Johna Stallings, Sara Siegel

Johna Stallings, Sara Siegel

Until one victim’s brother called police when confronted with the payment of thousands of dollars or the death of his brother in June 2019, no one in a nice neighborhood in Houston had any idea what was happening behind closed doors of a small, four-bedroom home. Specifically, that women had been smuggled into the U.S. and made to take care of other exploited persons while the smugglers trafficked drugs and multiple persons at gunpoint from Mexico through Houston to other areas of the U.S.  During this case study, attendees will discover how Mexican gangs traffic exploited persons and drugs into Texas and what the Houston Police Department did to save 15 people located in the home in only their underwear for clothing. 

CASE STUDY: A Near Miss: Prosecuting a Human Trafficking Recruitment Scheme - Jennifer Rausch, Jomel Spurlock

Jennifer Rausch, Jomel Spurlock

Sex trafficking rings are prolific in the U.S. and, although Ohio is no exception, a weakness in Ohio law presented challenges in a case involving the victimization of a 16-year-old survivor. This case study will examine a sex trafficking case that operated in Central Ohio for several months in 2017. The presenters will explore the investigative and prosecutorial processes and courtroom outcomes. The instrumentality of the case advocate’s ability to work with the victim from the beginning of the investigation to the end of the court proceedings (and beyond) will also be discussed. 

CASE STUDY: Never Forget a Face! The Downfall of Justin Ray - Kerry Adcock

Kerry Adcock

Research has shown that the majority of sexual assault crimes are executed by someone we know, whether it be acquaintances or family members. However, the concept of “stranger danger” should not be discarded. Unfortunately, random attacks on women still occur and continue to instill fear and trepidation among victims and within the community. This case study will take a deep dive into the case of Justin Ray, a violent sexual offender sentenced to 50 years in prison, who attacked a female jogger by violently beating and sexually assaulting her. The presenter will highlight the importance of a good composite drawing of the suspect, and the pitfalls of eyewitness descriptions. Case interviews, DNA, and the use of social media will also be discussed. 

CASE STUDY: Never Give Up: The 47-Year Journey for Justice for Carla Walker - Kim D’Avignon, Emily Dixon

Kim D’Avignon, Emily Dixon

In 1974, Carla Walker was abducted, raped, and murdered in Fort Worth, Texas. The case went unsolved for almost five decades. Using new DNA technology, this case was finally solved in 2020. The presenters will examine the investigation and successful prosecution of the Carla Walker case and walk attendees through the forensic genetic genealogy (FGG) DNA analysis that ultimately unmasked the killer who had lived a few miles from the crime scene the entire time. Attendees will also be shown how prosecutors successfully navigated getting the FGG admitted into court in one of the first trials to use FGG in the nation. Additionally, the challenges of putting together a case where many of the original participants had died will also be discussed. 

CASE STUDY: The Recant & How to Still Prove the Case - Kathryn Marsh, Melissa Hoppmeyer

Kathryn Marsh, Melissa Hoppmeyer

Intimate partner violence and child sexual abuse often overlap with power and control dynamics, creating forced recants. Within this particular case study, investigators were able to identify that the recant by a 17-year-old daughter was caused by the economic abuse and control over the family by the stepfather and the mother trying to comply with the defendant in order to be able to file for divorce and maintain custody of the two younger children. The presenter will explore when economic abuse creates a recant by the victim and witness, as well as a number of different investigative techniques in order to prove the recant was a false and manipulated recant, and that the actual reports of abuse were truthful and reliable. Collaborative investigations, reasons for recantation, witness intimidation, and strategies for successful prosecution will also be discussed. 

CASE STUDY: A Time of Terror: The Effects of Capriglione - Tara Edsall, Ryan Gardiner

Tara Edsall, Ryan Gardiner

This case study takes a deep dive into the life and behavior of a narcissistically controlling domestic violence abuser and the effects his abuse had on the five survivors he sought out by strangling, cutting, burning, beating, attempted drowning, suffocation, and brutally raping and sodomizing the victims with objects to gain control. The presenters will explain how they came into contact with the abuser, and why it took five survivors to finally help incarcerate the offender. Thicase study will examine lessons learned by the investigators, advocates, and judicial system and what they could have done differently during the investigation, as well as what was done to aid in the successful prosecution. 

CASE STUDY: U.S. vs Alston Williams: Using a Multidisciplinary Approach to Commercial Sex Trafficking (Pt. 1 & 2) - Peter Angell, Jennifer Howard, Carlos Lisboa, Gregory Schiller

Peter Angell, Jennifer Howard, Carlos Lisboa, Gregory Schiller

In late November 2017, the Palm Beach County Human Trafficking Task Force responded to an outcry from a female trafficking victim who stated that she and other young women were being forced to engage in commercial sex and labor across Florida at the direction of a violent trafficker. An investigation revealed that, for 12 years, Alston Williams recruited troubled juvenile females into his home, promising love, shelter, and a family environment. Williams used mental and emotional abuse, along with severe physical violence, to control and exploit his victims. This case study will not only examine the best practices for a successful trafficking investigation and prosecution, but will provide attendees sound analytical approaches and tools, trial strategies, and tips for strong victim advocacy throughout the pre- and post-trial stages of the case.

CASE STUDY: When Darkness Comes to Light: State vs. Jeremy Fenney - Coreen Schnepf

Coreen Schnepf

Jeremy Fenney kidnapped, raped, tortured, and abused women that he sexually exploited for money, power, and control. As many investigators and prosecutors can attest, these type of severe cases of psychological and physical abuse can render a victim voiceless with the expectation of working with a potential uncooperative witness. Because of this grim possibility, essential steps were taken to provide resources for long-term treatment through the criminal justice system to create a path for cooperation in the prosecution and exit from a life of prostitution and abuse. This case study explores the long-term commitment and effort of a successful investigation and prosecution in a human trafficking case that resulted in a 340year prison sentence for the offender. 

CASE STUDY: When the Justice System Refuses to Do the Right Thing: The Madison Smith Case - Justin Boardman, Julie Germann, Madison Smith, Mandy Smith

Justin Boardman, Julie Germann, Madison Smith, Mandy Smith

In February 2018, Madison Smith was raped and strangled by a college classmate. The County Attorney labeled the rape as “immature sex”, then declined charges. Later, the offender was charged only with aggravated battery because she didn’t verbally say “no”. The County Attorney refused to talk with experts in the field. Later a law from the 1880’s was located, finding Kansas was one of six states allowing the convening of a Citizen’s Grand Jury. This took two separate petition drives and filings with the court before the grand jury was approved. Unfortunately, the grand jury declined to bring further charges. The presenters will discuss the details of the case, lessons learned, highlight the ways in which rape victims are re-victimized by the criminal justice system and victim’s rights statutes that can’t be enforced. As of this writing the case pushes on and will be updated during the case study. 

CASE STUDY: “You’ll Give it Up for Him”: Lessons Learned from LGBTQ-Specific Sexual Assault Cold Cases - Patrick Moug, Grace Broughton

Patrick Moug, Grace Broughton

Various motivations exist when an abuser or rapist makes the choice to victimize another person. Trying to change her sexual orientation to please others, ‘Jane’ begins to date ‘Rick’, a neighborhood friend. ‘Jane’ confides in ‘Rick’ that she is gay and wishes to remain platonic friends.  After being told this, ‘Rick’ orchestrates a plan which includes having another male sexually assault ‘Jane’ while ‘Rick’ watches. Due to the delay in DNA testing of the victim’s sexual assault kit, it took years to identify the suspects. This cold case study will discuss lessons learned from working sexual assault cold cases where the victims are from the LGBTQ community. The presenters will share what worked and didn’t work to build rapport with the victims, how to investigate and prepare a case where the evidence was over ten years old, and interrogate offenders who sexually assault others due to their sexual orientation.