Practical Homicide Investigation, Fourth Edition (Volume 2)

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9780849333033: Practical Homicide Investigation, Fourth Edition (Volume 2)

Renowned for being THE definitive source of homicide investigation, Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques is the recognized protocol used by investigative divisions of major police departments throughout the world. It is also the text used in most police academies, including the prestigious FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. It emphasizes essential procedures, combines detailed techniques with instructive case studies, and outlines the foundation on which to build a solid, prosecutable case.

The fundamental criminal investigative techniques stressed in the Fourth Edition are crucial for effective inquiry into sudden and violent death. Eminent author, lecturer, consultant, and expert witness Vernon J. Geberth begins the book with a comprehensive discussion of homicide crime scenes. The book evolves chronologically from initial police notification, the correct police response that follows, and the subsequent steps necessary to conduct an intelligent investigation. It then delves into more technical aspects of homicide investigation, augmented with numerous pictures and full-color illustrations that involve pertinent case histories.

The book features two new chapters along with major revisions of those from the previous edition. In addition it contains 675 photos and illustrations - including 300 new entries that incorporate depictions of wound structures and procedures that portray exactly what to do and how to do it. All illustrations are presented in full color, including new medical-legal drawings for instruction and courtroom testimony.

Vernon Geberth was featured in an interview on News 14 Carolina in Fayetteville discussing his 3-day seminar on Practical Homicide Investigation.

He also discusses the book in a video on the CRC Press YouTube channel.

Vernon Geberth was recently interviewed for an article entitled, The Hunt for a Serial Killer: Revisting the Gilgo Beach Murders.

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About the Author:

Geberth; Vernon J. Practical Homicide Investigation Inc, New York, USA,


Most readers will feel the fourth edition was well worth the wait. ...Updates of prior images, as well as new photographs and numerous professional medical illustrations, undoubtedly improve the quality of the book. ...This book continues to be a solid and necessary resource for anyone tasked with the responsibility of investigating not only homicides, but also other manners of death.

―John P. Black, CLPE, CFWE, CSCSA, Journal of Forensic Identification, Vol. 57, No. 1, January/February 2007

Vern Geberth is the Avenging Angel of Homicide Victims... Sharing his 40 plus years of experience and diligently tapping into the expertise of others, the book is an A through Z of homicide investigation. ...Practical with a capital "P"...a truly comprehensive text for the student of political science as well as a – must have – ready reference for the police practitioner. A passionate mentor as well as an effective writer, Geberth is mindful of the solemn responsibility that homicide investigators and police are entrusted with and deeply reverent in his approach to always doing things right because of it. At the end of the day, Geberth’s work should empower and motivate police investigators to remove more murderers from our communities and bring comfort to the families of homicide victims.

―Pete Gagliardi, Vice President, Corporate & Marketing Communications, Forensic Technology, Cote St-Luc, Quebec, Canada

Geberth is the real thing. He was my top homicide commander in the NYCPD. Practical Homicide Investigation is a one of a kind textbook based on real experience coupled with an extensive knowledge of the forensic sciences. The techniques he recommends and pitfalls he warns against are gleaned from years of successful investigative work. His writing glows with authenticity. It is THE recognized guide for every police officer and should be on the top shelf of every attorney, prosecutor or defense.

―Edwin T. Dreher, Deputy Chief (Retired), Office of the Chief of Detectives, New York City Police Department, March 27, 2007

It is refreshing to see an edition that is really just not a re-print of outdated material. Moreover, from my point of view you took a huge step forward with this publication by publishing the photographs in color. --- This is extremely important and I am surprised that it hasn’t been done years ago. When teaching topics which deal with evidence such as powder burns, stippling, lividity, and the hue of blood itself, to name just a few, this can only be accurately portrayed when illustrated in color!

Color is critical to differentiate physical evidence. --- Nice job! ---- Maintaining current information on the forever changing types of homicides gives the investigator the leading edge. In this most recent addition, I noted cases presented which, prior to just a few years ago, never occurred. Kudos’ Mr. Geberth! – This is an excellent resource.

--Peter A. Siekmann, Coroner, DuPage County, Illinois Coroner’s Association

This clearly is the best teaching text on homicide out there for those serious about the field of homicide investigation.

--Donna Pendergast, First Assistant Attorney General Criminal Division, Michigan Attorney Generals Office

Vernon J. Geberth is the only person in the country, that I am aware of, who has continued to incorporate the latest investigative techniques, forensic procedures, innovative theories and updated real cases illustrating these and compiled them into a book that should be in every police department library and every detective’s desk.

The law enforcement community owes Geberth tremendous thanks for continuing to be the country’s most highly regarded and respected authority on homicide and death investigations.

--Thomas N. Jordan, Magisterial District Judge, Past President of the Pennsylvania Homicide Investigator’s Association

The new FOURTH edition of Practical Homicide Investigation is a Must Have. This is the recognized Bible in homicide investigation. Once again, Mr. Homicide, retired N.Y.P.D. Lieutenant Commander Vernon Geberth, has hit a home run. ... I strongly recommend this new edition, which has been completely revised and updated. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned investigator or a rookie officer. P.H.I. covers every aspect of homicide investigation from the first officer on the scene to the complex forensic processes involved in the investigation of murder.

--Detective Al Sheppard (Retired), NYPD-Major Case Squad, USA

... This is truly a brilliant and exhaustive presentation of the subject matter that remains absolutely faithful to its title. The color photos and life-like illustrations (over 600) provide the reader with a most realistic presentation of the homicide investigation from arrival at the crime scene through the autopsy, never losing sight of the ultimate goal of a successful court room presentation and prosecution... . Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques, Fourth Edition will empower you to be faithful to your solemn obligation to speak for the deceased and their families.

--Anthony Magnetto, Captain, Troy, New York Police Department, USA

...Unquestionably, Geberth has fully succeeded in his mission to provide a comprehensive and practical resource text that will serve as an investigational guide for the homicide professional. ...An important addition is the inclusion of several check-off lists that greatly simplifies an investigation with the added advantage of obtaining all the information critical to the investigation ...A major feature of this new edition that is really impressive derives from his use of numerous color photographs throughout the book... .

This book is a must for anyone involved in law enforcement and forensic investigations including seasoned homicide investigators, police personnel, forensic investigators and forensic pathologists.

--Frederick T. Zugibe, M.D., Ph.D., Emeritus Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County and Emeritus Adjunct Associate Professor of Pathology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, USA

It appears the author has revisited every chapter, but this latest revision especially provides new forensic coverage; in particular recent DNA developments. ...Many new photographs and illustrations have been included and nearly all of them are in bright, graphic color. As usual with Commander Geberth's literary efforts, the faint-hearted should proceed with utmost caution... .

--Director Larry Welch, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Topeka, Kansas, USA

Vernon Geberth's Practical Homicide Investigation in its first edition has been the backbone of my research shelf for years, and I have turned to it hundreds of time. This Fourth Edition is a spectacular upgrade, the ultimate 'Bible' that every homicide investigator, criminalist, medical examiner, and those in dozens of other professions must have. It is the gold standard in advanced techniques for working crime scenes in all classifications--from fire deaths to lust murder, and everything in between ... I am tremendously impressed with the scope and detail in this meticulously researched book. It is a triumph for Geberth and a bonanza for the investigator!
--Ann Rule, Ph.D., Author of The Stranger Beside Me and Green River and Running Red

Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures and Forensic Techniques should be required reading for all criminal investigators. This NEW Fourth Edition ... actually makes you feel like you are in the scene and Vernon is walking you through all the steps as he is conducts the homicide investigation and answers your questions before you ask them. ... The colored pictures are clear and detailed and the reader is able to visualize the homicide scene. Vernon, as usual does not take all of the credit for the contents of this professional book. Instead, he has made sure that he acknowledges all of his sources for their contributions and provides the reader with additional citations. This fantastic book is Vernon's contribution to everyone in law enforcement.

--Captain Frank Griffin, Executive Officer, Connecticut State Police, Eastern District Headquarters, USA

In this new 4th Edition Vernon Geberth presents THE cutting edge resource book for all criminal investigators and prosecutors.  ... takes the reader step by step, from the first officer arriving at the scene, through identification of the nature of the crime, the handling of the crime scene, expanding the investigation, through laboratory analysis of the evidence and up to the successful prosecution of the suspects... Practical Homicide Investigation provides a clear, detailed outline for investigators and prosecutors, both of whom only get one chance to do it right.

--Jim Yontz, Assistant District Attorney, Potter County, Texas, USA

...This book will take the reader where many an author dare not tread. Geberth pulls no punches, this book is the real deal and not for the squeamish or weak of heart. Its content is not meant to shock the reader, but to emphasize the cold cruel reality of murder and sexual assault, and the importance in solving these crimes. The book has been updated to include advanced techniques for working crime scenes. As criminals become more educated in their trade via the internet, television programs on Crime Scene Processing and through incarceration in jails and penitentiaries, it is compulsory for homicide investigator to keep pace with the daily advancements in crime fighting tools that are available to him or her.

--Detective Mark J. Czworniak, Area Three Homicide Sex Crimes Unit Evidence Response Team, Chicago Police Department, Illinois, USA

Vernon Geberth has provided the definitive roadmap for those who wish to successfully investigate homicides ... . [He] was the Commanding Officer of the Bronx Homicide Task Force when murder in New York City was at an all time high and has an uncanny understanding of what is essential for the investigation of murder or suicide. ... Geberth has seen it all and is more than willing to share his own personal experiences and case histories, which he utilizes to instruct the reader and make a point relating to the dynamics of conducting death investigations. If you follow the procedures and tactics in this book, you will be able to sleep well, knowing no murderer has escaped justice because of a poor investigation.

--Thomas P. Fahey, Assistant Chief (Retired), Chief of Manhattan Detectives, NYPD, USA

...a tremendous aid to homicide and crime scene investigators, prosecutors and serious students of forensic identification procedures and abnormal human behavior. ..His methodical approach provides the seasoned and less experienced investigator every opportunity to, ‘Get it right the first time.’ ...This publication is an invaluable asset to law enforcement and will be considered the Bible of homicide investigation.

--Raymond M. Pierce, Criminal Profiler, Detective 1st Grade, Ret., NYPD

...thanks to professionals around the country who share their information with Geberth, there are several new cases in this new edition. As well, he offers the latest DNA technology and more information (much needed) about equivocal death analysis, as well as a revised checklist for homicide investigators. The bibliography, too, includes more resources and the glossary more terms.

But actually the best thing about this new edition is the replacement of black-and-white with color photos and illustrations – 675 of them...a number of new ones that refined my understanding of wounds, manner of death and investigative analysis...the full-color crime scene sketches and reconstructions are particularly instructive. ...This book now stands out even more clearly as the definitive guidebook for homicide investigators. It will be difficult for anyone to top it.

--Katherine Ramsland, professor of forensic psychology, Desales University, reporting for Court TV’s Crime Laboratory

During my tenure as Homicide Bureau Chief, I had the great pleasure of working closely with Vernon J. Geberth. ...Commander Geberth’s extensive knowledge, unmatched expertise, and boundless creativity...was responsible for the successful prosecution of countless homicides in Bronx County. ...In my opinion, it is essential that the professional involved with the investigation and prosecution of a homicide have a copy of Vernon J. Geberth’s Practical Homicide Investigation, 4th Edition.

-- Philip G. Schnelwar, former Prosecutor and Homicide Bureau Chief, Bronx County, New York.

...the New Testament in The Bible of homicide investigation.

--Larry Welch, director, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, Topeka

This edition is one of the finest books on homicide investigation. It is filled with practical tips, interesting cases, numerous photos and all basic topics from tactics to provedures and forensic techniques. 3 Stars.

Journal of American Association of Forensic Dentists

This volume, the latest rendition of what has become the classic homicide investigators’ manual, is the next best thing to having a mentor with the understanding of the author. ... It is, like the earlier volumes, the seminal work on this topic. There is not a better one on the market.

―Frank Horvath, Ph.D., writing in Journal of Forensic Science, May 2009, vol. 54, no. 3

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