Serial Killers Forum to Explore Motivations, Methods Behind the Murders

"Mindhunter," Bundy and "Pizza Bomber" Topics Highlight 3-Day Symposium

Public fascination with serial killers like Ted Bundy and the Golden State Killer and professional interest in how they were investigated is the impetus behind Hunting the Hunters: An Interdisciplinary Investigation into Serial Killing, the latest symposium by the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law.  

The event, which will be held from Sept. 11-13 at Duquesne University and be streamed live, will explore the motivations and methods of famous serial killers, including Bundy and Dennis Rader, also known as "The BTK Killer." Other topics to be addressed include why most serial killers are men, reasons the insanity defense rarely succeeds in serial killer cases and the distinguishing characteristics of serial killers versus "spree" killers.

"Given the public's growing interest in serial killers, we are excited to bring such a distinguished group of speakers to Duquesne to explore this topic," said Ben Wecht, program administrator for the Institute. "It has long been our tradition to educate professionals and the public about the critical role of the forensic sciences in the investigation and prosecution of challenging cases, and this event will perpetuate that tradition."

Among the presenters at the 18th annual symposium are:

  • Ann Wolbert Burgess, psychiatric nursing pioneer whose work inspired the character of Dr. Wendy Carr in Netflix's popular television series Mindhunter;
  • Jerry Clark, former FBI agent who led the investigation into Erie's "pizza bomber" case;
  • Dr. Katherine Ramsland, author of Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader and director of the M.A. in Criminal Justice program at DeSales University;
  • Kathy Kleiner Rubin, one of Bundy's two surviving victims.  

Additional presenters include legal experts, psychologists and criminalists who will share their unique perspectives on understanding, identifying, capturing and prosecuting serial killers. The conference also received a boost when television legal commentator Nancy Grace tweeted about it last week.  

Continuing education opportunities are available for various professional groups. For an agenda and list of presenters, visit the symposium website at https://duq.edu/serialkillers.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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