UW-Platteville crime scene house revisits Kercher

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Department of Criminal Justice hosted the second annual Horrific Crime Scene Revisited from 2-8 p.m. on Oct. 30 and 31 at the Forensic Investigation Crime Scene House in the Pioneer Farm.
Diana Johnson, an assistant professor in the criminal justice department, said there are three main criteria the department looks at when deciding which crime to portray.
“Crimes that consist of controversial elements, are high profile and have a lot of physical evidence are the best cases to use,” Johnson said.
This year’s crime scene was the 2007 murder of London native Meredith Kercher. According to the New York Times, Kercher, 21, was in Italy as an exchange student when she was discovered dead on the floor of her bedroom on Nov. 2.
Investigators found knife wounds to her throat and evidence of sexual assault. Amanda Knox, a housemate and exchange student from the U.S., and Knox’s boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian student, were both charged with sexual assault and murder in December 2009.
In October 2011, their convictions were appealed and overturned. Italian Rudy Guede is currently serving a 16-year sentence for the sexual assault and murder of Kercher.
Evidence Technology Magazine and newspapers from as far away as San Francisco mentioned the UW-Platteville event.
The event included a well-researched case and re-creation of the crime scene. Visitors could walk through the exhibit and read about each suspect before stepping into the bedroom to see the faux murder scene for themselves. Students took notes and talked with others as they formulated theories about who committed the crime.
“We began preparing for this year’s event in mid-September by doing research,” Dana Cecil, a lecturer in the criminal justice department, said. “The actual setup at the [Forensic Investigation Crime Scene] house took almost four days.”
Students visited the house to celebrate Halloween or because they were required to attend for criminal justice classes.
“The event was interesting,” senior business major Jon Lewerke said. “It made me feel like I was at the actual crime scene.”
Johnson and Cecil said they were pleased with the turnout of students and community members. The event was free but donations were accepted.
In addition to the criminal justice department, PACCE and other area businesses helped put on the event.