Matricide and Filicide: When Family Ties Strangle

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Join us in the Cal State Los Angeles teaching crime lab for an afternoon’s inquiry into two shocking and complicated crime scenes, presented by the criminalists and investigators who were on the scene.

Lecture One focuses on a 1995 double murder at Universal City Walk. Join us as Beverly Kerr, lead forensic investigator on the case, walks us through her investigation, from the initial rooftop crime scene to the side of the Hollywood Freeway miles away, where the incident continued. The presentation will focus on the forensic techniques used in analyzing the scenes, and the landmark use of DNA evidence presented in court during the trial.

About the case: On Mother’s Day, 1995, Paul Carasi had dinner with his mother Doris Carasi, his ex-girlfriend Sonia Salinas, and the ex-couple’s young son. On returning to the Universal City Walk parking structure, Paul Carasi claimed that the adults were attacked by unknown assailants. Both women were stabbed to death, but Paul Carasi suffered only minor wounds and was apparently knocked unconscious. Minutes later, Paul Carasi’s girlfriend Donna Kay called CHP from the side of the Hollywood Freeway. She claimed she had been stabbed by a robber on the road. Her wounds, too, were relatively minor. What was it about the DNA evidence in the parking lot and on the side of the Hollywood Freeway that revealed to investigators what had really happened at Universal City Walk, and made this case suitable for a death penalty charge? You’ll get the answers in today’s in-depth presentation.

In Lecture Two, Professor Don Johnson is back at front of the classroom after a year’s hiatus, presenting one of his classic crime scene walkthroughs. Join Professor Johnson as he shares his experiences as the on-scene investigator in a troubling and complicated homicide investigation. Illustrated with graphic photographs, Professor Johnson’s presentation takes you to the crime scene and puts you inside the head of first responders and investigators.

About the case: This incident involves a young woman who concealed her pregnancy from friends and family, delivered her baby at home, and disposed of the child. When the infant’s body was found in a neighboring yard, mauled by a dog, her secret was exposed. But did the mother kill her baby before abandoning it, was it born dead, or was it a victim of a dog attack? What was the significance of the strange tool discovered in the mother’s family bathroom? And how do forensic scientists prove parentage of a child whose father is unknown, and whose mother is only suspected? You’ll learn the answers to these and many other questions in this graphic and compelling homicide investigation.