SPEAKERS

2017 NHIA Conference Speakers

We, as the National Homicide Investigators Association, work on obtaining national topics, trends, and current technology for our attendees.  We have enlisted a great schedule of presenters and vendors for 2017’s conference.  You can see the speaker’s photographs,  topics and biographies on the Speaker page of our website.

Steve SpignolaSteven Spingola

Lieutenant Retired, Milwaukee Police Department


Topic: Jeffery Dahmer Serial Killer Presentation

SSteven Spingola is an investigator with a national reputation for excellence.

A 2001 graduate of the FBI National Academy, Spingola holds two masters degrees. He is also a death investigation’s expert, a police related shooting reconstruction specialist, and has formal training in criminal investigative analysis (profiling).

Prior to his retirement as a lieutenant of detectives with the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD), Spingola supervised all major categories of criminal investigations, including stints in the Homicide Unit, Vice Control Division, Sensitive Crimes Unit, and Violent Crimes Division. He further served as the lead investigator for the Critical Incident Unit, a group that probes police related shootings, use-of-force incidents, and other significant events. As a detective, Spingola spent several years conducting death investigations for a homicide unit with one of the highest clearance rates in the country.

Spingola’s role in academia is that of the coordinator of Criminal Justice Studies for Gateway Technical College and an adjunct professor of criminal justice and security management for Waukesha County Technical College and Marian University.

Over the course of two seasons, Spingola was an investigator for TNT’s Cold Justice. During a 2014 episode filmed in Vigo County, Indiana, Spingola and another investigator obtained a confession in a decades-old cold case. In the midst of an intense interrogation, Clint Mackey broke down and stated, “I went back, grabbed the knife and killed her.”

Steve is also the author of Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, and Predators on the Parkway: a Former Homicide Detective Explores the Colonial Parkway Murders.

Shawn HobenShawn Hoben

Senior Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives


Topic: NIBIN

Special Agent (SA) Shawn Hoben started his career with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 1988. As a Special Agent, he served in San Francisco, California, Denver, Colorado and Reno, Nevada. SA Hoben accrued a diverse caseload in each of the previously mentioned states, which included fire, explosive, gang and firearm-related investigations.

Special Agent Hoben joined ATF’s Special Response Team (SRT) in 1989 where he spent 17 years, three of which were in a full-time status. In addition, SA Hoben served an additional three years as the SRT Tactical Commander, which made him responsible for tactical deployments of up to 40 personnel who were involved-in numerous high-risk operations nationwide.

In 2006, SA Hoben became the Resident Agent in Charge (RAC) of the San Diego I Field Office. RAC Hoben spearheaded a Southwest Border Firearms Trafficking Group and led an Arson/Explosive Group before transitioning to the NIBIN Program in 2014.

SA Hoben is ATF’s NIBIN Coordinator and is responsible for development and implementation of ATF’s NIBIN program. The ATF NIBIN program includes training, strategy and management of NIBIN sites throughout the United States. The mission statement of NIBIN is to identify, target and prosecute shooters and their sources of crime guns.

NIBIN plays a critical role in ATF’s mission of investigating and impacting violent crime and improving the quality of life for American citizens, but can only be successful with the commitment and partnership of state and local law enforcement.

Miami Dade Police BadgeWilliam Hladky

Homicide Detective Retired, Miami Dade Police Department


Topic: Understanding the psychological & physiological impact of police-involved shootings on officers and their investigators

William Hladky is a retired homicide detective from the Miami-Dade Police Department. He has 30 years of law enforcement experience. Prior to being assigned to the Homicide Bureau, he was a robbery and district detective.

Bill has been involved in two shootings and a variety of other violent encounters. In 1983, Miami-Dade Police Department named Bill and his partner Officers of the Year for saving under sniper fire a woman being beaten by a mob during a riot. In 1997, he received the Gold Medal of Valor for exchanging gunfire with a robber. (The robber lost).

Bill is a certified police survival instructor. During 1984 and 1985 while on a leave of absence, he taught police tactics to U.S. military police officers in Germany. In addition to police officers, he has taught U.S. Air Marshals and FBI Special Agents. Bill has taught criminal justice to undergraduates and is a guest lecturer at Nova Southeastern University in the doctoral police psychology program. He holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice, specializing in forensic behavioral science, from Nova Southeastern University. He also holds a Master’s Degree of Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University, where he researched police stress. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s Degree. He is a member of the National Homicide Investigators Association and is a graduate of the Force Science Institute’s certification program. The show “The Perfect Murder” on the Investigation Discovery channel recently profiled one of Bill’s murder cases.

Laura RussellLaura Russell

Detective Retired, Miami Dade Police Department


Topic: Understanding the psychological & physiological impact of police-involved shootings on officers and their investigators

Laura Russell served 24 years with the Miami-Dade Police Department before she retired. Laura obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice in 1982 at the age of 19. She then joined the Miami-Dade Police Department and served as a patrol officer, a Narcotics jump-out detective and a General Investigation Detective. She spent the final 16 years of her career as a Robbery Detective.

During her tenure with the department, she was injured 23 times, including two gunshot wounds. She was a recipient of the Purple Heart, Silver Medal of Valor, Bronze Medal of Honor, and Exceptional Service Awards and was a finalist for Officer of the Year after a confrontation with two armed subjects.

Additionally, she received 69 miscellaneous commendations. As a result of a police-involved shooting in 1985, she has since been called upon by both her department and others to lecture during training courses for supervisors, Internal Affairs, and homicide investigators to provide them with firsthand information regarding an officer’s viewpoint in officer-involved shooting incidents.

She was involved in several additional incidents throughout her career which she was later called upon to include in her lectures. Her insight and perspective have given her the ability to help others understand and prepare for traumatic incidents related to their law enforcement duties.

Ghada WahdanGhada Wahdan

Counterterrorism Intelligence Analyst, Colorado Information Analysis Center


Topic: Radical Islam and U.S. Crimes

Ghada Wahdan is a Counterterrorism Intelligence Analyst for the Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC) and a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on international terrorism. Ms. Wahdan focuses on Muslim Sunni, Salafist and Shia’ radical groups and terrorist organizations. She is an American-Arab born and raised in Kuwait for fourteen years. She gained a tremendous understanding to the radicalization process and the ideology that exists in the Middle East while being exposed to religious, cultural and governmental differences in the region.

She has been instrumental in gathering intelligence on international threats, providing monthly classified secret briefs, and creating strategic intelligence products to inform partners of international threats and possible implications to global and U.S. homeland security.

Her Sunni Muslim family immigrated to Colorado a few years before Desert Storm. She obtained her MA in Criminology from Regis University in 2012 and her BS in Criminal Justice & Criminology from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2007. She is fluent in Arabic in ten different dialects.

Ms. Wahdan offers a detailed presentation intended to provide an introduction to the radical ideology that exists in the Middle East and its nexus to terrorism. She achieves this through providing an understanding of radical Islam, sectarian division, the ideology of Jihad and Salafism in Islam, the global influence and regional control of the Islamic State in Iraq and Ash Shaam (ISIS), and the possible impact of refugees admitted and poorly vetted, from conflict zones in the Middle East, to U.S. homeland security.

Lastly, the presentation examines the radicalization process for both domestic and foreign-born extremists, and how propaganda, social media and other non-traditional forms of messaging are influencing the next generation of terrorists specifically women, children and minorities worldwide.

Ms. Wahdan spent the last four years training law enforcement officers across the country. Her presentations and outreach included over 30 states, approximately 750 agencies from federal, state and local level, and more than 10,500 professionals in law enforcement, emergency management, military personnel, and policy makers.

Jeff LewisJeffrey Lewis

Detective Retired, Miami Dade Police Departement


Topic: Coming soon!

Jeffrey Lewis honorably retired from the Miami-Dade Police Department in October 2010. Lewis had a distinguished thirty-year career and was assigned to the homicide Bureau as detective in my final 14 years. Lewis was assigned to the Special Investigative Squad for my last two years. It was during that time that Lewis was given the assignment of coordinating efforts with all of the local police departments in an effort to stem the rising tide of gang related shootings and homicides that were occurring in Miami-Dade County. These efforts proved to be very fruitful in reducing the homicides and dismantling the gangs responsible.

Prior to that Lewis was assigned to the robbery Bureau where he spent 13 years as a robbery detective. During his tenure, he investigated thousands of robberies, with a large portion of these cases receiving local and some national news coverage. Lewis also investigated numerous robbery gangs including two major tourist robbery gangs, a business robbery gang that robbed a business for over a million dollars worth of inventory, a jewelry store robbery gang, a carjacking gang, a Haitian robbery gang and a Jamaican Posse that committed numerous home invasion robberies. Additionally he investigated numerous police impersonator gangs as well as drug related home invasion robbery gangs. All of these gangs too were dismantled by these investigations.

Prior to his robbery assignment, Lewis worked as a Crime Suppression Team Detective and as a uniform patrolman in the Liberty City area of Miami-Dade County. While working as a crime suppression team Detective, he was the victim of a shooting during a raid of a Jamaican run drug house. Lewis received a Purple Heart as a result of the shooting incident. His team was responsible for shutting down numerous drug dealing houses, a car theft ring, a burglary ring, a bar that was ground zero for prostitution and other criminal activity. The team also stemmed the prostitution in the district by doing many prostitution stings.

Lewis has personally been responsible for investigating thousands of robbery and death related cases in my career. Lewis has testified in hundreds of state, federal and civil cases and also provided hundreds of criminal and civil depositions. Throughout his career Lewis has attended numerous robbery/homicide related training seminars and has received extensive training in interviews and interrogation techniques, crime scene investigations, robbery and homicide investigations as well as general law enforcement and weapons training.

Lewis has worked robbery and homicide cases with FDLE, the FBI, DEA, ATF and the Secret Service. Some of these cases were prosecuted federally as well as in the state system. Many drug/murder gangs were dismantled during these investigations

After Lewis graduated high school in 1976 he joined the United States Air Force. He was selected to be law enforcement specialist within the Security Police Squadron. Lewis served his last two years as a security police investigator and Homestead Air Force Base, Florida. Upon his honorable discharge, Lewis joined the then Public Safety Department in 1980.

During his career Lewis received hundreds of commendations from local state and federal law enforcement agencies as well as from the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office, the US attorney’s office and numerous civilians.

Lewis currently instructs a three day robbery course and a three day gang related homicide course.

Anna CoxAnna Cox

Cox Forensic Consulting and Training, LLC


Topic: Crime Scene & Blood Spatter Investigations

Anna M. Cox is the owner of Cox Forensic Consulting and Training, LLC. She specializes in bloodstain pattern analysis, proper homicide scene processing techniques, and chemical enhancement of blood evidence. Anna has worked over 100 bloodstain cases for agencies and attorneys in Florida and Maryland during her 17 year forensic career. Prior to becoming a private forensic consultant she worked for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Sciences Unit for over 12 years and was the primary bloodstain pattern expert for the agency. She was also an autopsy technician for the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Anna continues to respond to crime scenes at the request of law enforcement agencies and state attorney offices. She works closely with detectives and crime scene technicians providing assistance with bloodstain pattern documentation and chemical enhancement. Anna also assists agencies with cold cases by providing case file reviews to include examination of evidence.

She has rendered expert opinions multiple times in court regarding bloodstain pattern evidence. She trains law enforcement members on bloodstain pattern analysis, proper crime scene processing procedures, and chemical enhancement processing techniques. Anna also trains law enforcement members in proper report writing, preparing for a Daubert hearing, and courtroom testimony. She has a Bachelor of Science degree, a Graduate Certificate in Forensic Death Investigation, and a Master of Forensic Science with a Specialization in Investigation degree.

Anna conducts seminars for professional associations such as the National Homicide Investigators Association, the International Association of Homicide Investigators, and the Florida Division of the International Association of Identification. She also serves as an advisory board member for the University of Tampa.

Mary O'ToolMary Ellen O’Toole, PHD

Agent Retired, Federal Bureau of Investigation


Topic: Psychopathy

Mary Ellen O’Toole, Ph.D. has spent her career studying the criminal mind. One of the most senior profilers for the FBI until her retirement in 2009, Dr. O’Toole has helped capture, interview and understand some of the world’s most infamous people including:

  • Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer
  • Derrick Todd Lee and Sean Vincent Gillis, both serial killers in Baton Rouge
  • The Collar Bomb Case, a bank robbery and murder of a pizza delivery man
  • Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber
  • The Polly Klaas child abduction
  • David Parker Ray, a serial sexual sadist
  • The Red Lake School Shooting
  • The Monster of Florence serial murder case
  • The Zodiac serial murder case
  • The bombing during the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, UT
  • The mass murder in Florence, Montana in 2001

Dr. O’Toole also worked the Elizabeth Smart and Natalee Holloway disappearances, the Columbine shootings and many other high profile cases. Her law enforcement career spanned 32 years, beginning in the San Francisco’s District Attorney’s Office when she was a Criminal Investigator. Dr. O’Toole worked as an FBI agent for 28 years, spending more than half of her Bureau career in the organization’s prestigious Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU)—the very unit that is the focus of the hit crime series “Criminal Minds.”

During her time in the unit, Dr. O’Toole developed an expertise in Criminal Investigative Analysis (CIA) as well as offender behavior. She has provided assistance to law enforcement and prosecutors on a wide range of violent and criminal behavior including serial and single homicides, sexual assaults, kidnappings, product tampering, school shootings, arsons and bombings and extortions. Dr. O’Toole is also a trained FBI hostage negotiator and has a unique expertise in the areas of targeted school violence, workplace violence and threat assessment.

Dr. O’Toole is recognized as the FBI’s leading expert in the area of “psychopathy.” Her work in psychopathy has put her on the forefront of mental health and law enforcement efforts to apply the concepts of this personality disorder to both violent and white collar offenders and their behavior and crime scenes. She lectures internationally on the application of the theory of psychopathy to real life situations. She continues to lecture at the FBI Academy on psychopathy and interviewing. She has served as adjunct faculty to the FBI’s Prestigious Leadership Development Institute (LDI) at the FBI Academy and also frequently lectures at the Smithsonian Institution about everything from Sherlock Holmes to personal safety. She is a Fellow with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Kelly OtisKelly Otis

Chief Investigator, District Attorney’s Office in Wichita, KS


Topic: B.T.K Dennis Rader Serial Killer Presentation

Kelly Otis is the Chief Investigator for the District Attorney’s Office in Wichita, Ks. Kelly has been a police officer in the Wichita area for 32 years. Kelly spent 22 years with the Wichita PD-11 years on midnite shift patrol, 1 year undercover, and 10 years in the Homicide Division. In 2007, Kelly was hired by the DA’s office and now supervises a unit of 6 LEO’s and 3 civilian investigators. The unit assists with major crimes in the Wichita/ Sedgwick County area.

In 2004, Kelly was assigned to the BTK serial killer task force, and remained on the task force until the culmination of the case in 2005.

Michael CokerMichael Coker

Sergeant Retired, Portsmouth Police Department, Virginia


Topic: Violent Crime Investigations with Domestic Overtones

A motivational speaker in the field of Domestic Homicide Investigations. Michael is 20-year veteran of Portsmouth Police Department in Virginia. Retired Sergeant Coker graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bethel University, McKenzie Tennessee, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice.

During his career he occupied various assignments in Uniform Patrol and Investigations. Michael supervised several units during his tenure: Homicide and Robbery, Domestic Violence/Sex Crimes Unit, Robbery Task Force Squad Commander and Shift Commander. Mike is a lifetime member of the Fraternal Order of Police Gosport Lodge #20, Portsmouth, VA.

Michael’s lecturing and teaching experience includes: Indiana Chapter of the FBI National Academy Alumni Association Conference. Executive Staff Management Team Sharonville, Ohio. Polaroid Corporation, Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, Illinois State Police, United States Postal Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern Mississippi District, Birmingham Alabama Police Department, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, Idaho P.O.S.T., Idaho Governor’s Task Force, Suffolk County Long Island New York, Virginia Juvenile Court Judges, Texas P.O.S.T, University of Delaware, Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy, Hampton Roads Academy of Criminal Justice Services, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and the United States Virgin Island Police to name few. Sergeant Coker is a past Board of Director of Help Emergency Response (HER), a Battered Women Shelter in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Michael is a frequent guest at the Western States Training Conference, Las Vegas Nevada, Miami-Dade Police Department Homicide Training Conference, Delaware State Police Homicide Conference, and New York State Police Henry F. Williams Conference.