Speakers 2018-09-21T14:58:10+00:00


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 this year’s conference.  You can see the speaker’s photographs,  topics and biographies on the Speaker page of our website. Please check back frequently as we update our Conference Speakers page.

Robert Jacobs

Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Kansas Bureau of Investigation

Topic: 2016 Workplace Shooting at the Excel Industries Plant in Hesston, Kansas

R obert earned a Bachelor of Science degree in both Psychology and Sociology from Baker University. Robert holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Washburn University,
where he is currently an adjunct faculty member.

Robert has been a Special Agent with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) since 2001. He has been assigned to the Wichita Field Division working violent crimes since his appointment as a Special Agent.

In 2011, Robert graduated from the National Forensic Academy, session 29, in Knoxville, TN. Robert served on the KBI Crime Scene Response Team (CSRT) from 2010 to 2014. He was a member of the KBI High Risk Warrant Team (Tactical Team) from 2003 to 2018, where he
resigned as an Assistant Team Leader. Robert also serves as a member of the KBI Peer Support Team. Robert has completed advanced training in the area of Officer Involved Shooting Investigations to include the Force Science certification course.

Robert currently oversees the CSRT program for the KBI.

Rudy FloresW. R. (Rudy) Flores

Sergeant Retired, Texas Rangers

Topic: Child Death Investigation: A Team Approach

Texas Ranger Sergeant (ret.) W. R. (Rudy) Flores retired in 2015, with over 33 years of service in Texas law enforcement. He has served as a deputy sheriff, municipal police officer, and a Trooper, Sergeant and Texas Ranger with the Texas Department of Public Safety. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree and is a graduate of the Leadership Command College at Sam Houston State University. He holds certifications as a Master Peace Officer, Instructor, Firearms Instructor and Special Investigator from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. Sergeant Flores was a member of the Crime Scene Investigation Working Group assigned to design, implement and instruct advanced investigation techniques for the Texas Rangers. He also served as a member of the Cold Case Review Team, a “think tank” administered by the Sheriff’s Association of Texas to assist in unsolved major crimes. Sergeant Flores has presented to many groups and organizations, and thousands of peace officers, lecturing on crime scene investigation, criminal investigation, family violence, domestic homicide and sexual assault investigations.

Brian HarrisBrian Harris

Chief Deputy, Harris County Constable Office Precinct 5

Topic: Child Death Investigation: A Team Approach

Brian Harris began his law enforcement career in 1986 serving as a municipal and county officer before joining the Houston Police Department in 1993. Brian became a Detective in 1995 and was assigned to the Homicide Investigation Division. He has worked a multitude of diverse homicide investigations. He holds a Masters degree in Strategic Leadership from Mountain State University, with an undergraduate degree in Law Enforcement and Police Science from Sam Houston State University. Brian contributed to the implementation of the Houston Police Department’s Investigative First Responder Program for the city’s southeast patrol quadrant, which trained uniformed officers to investigate complex crimes from the scene. He has been featured in TIME magazine, ABC’s 20/20, Primetime, the History Channel, Fox News Channel and numerous local stations. Brian Harris has trained hundreds of law enforcement officers nationally and internationally in Interviewing and Interrogations, Homicide Investigation, and a variety of other courses. He developed the Houston Police Department’s Interview and Interrogation training program, the Advanced Interviewing Program, the Basic Investigator’s School and the Police Recruiting Interview School. Brian retired from the Houston Police Department at the end of 2016. He continues to serve as the Chief Deputy of the Harris County Constable Office, Precinct #5.

Laura PettlerDoctor Laura Pettler

Laura Pettler & Associates Private Investigation & Forensic Consultation

Topic: Staged Homicide Crime Scenes

Dr. Laura Pettler is the Forensic Criminologist on the five-time Emmy Award Winning The Dr. Oz Show True Crime series. Private Investigator, former District Attorney’s Investigator and Deputy Coroner, Co-Executive Producer and Host of International Academy of Web Television Awards Nominee “Notorious: True Crime Stories with Laura Pettler,”Laura is the President of North Carolina based company ‘Laura Pettler & Associates Private Investigation & Forensic Consultation’, a prestigious multi-discipline roundtable of elite homicide experts that specializes in solving cold case and staged homicides using Pettler’s methodologies combined with their individual specialties. Laura was the Director of North Carolina’s former and only Crime Scene Reconstruction and Behavioral Analysis program in history based in Prosecutorial District 20A and was the Director of its former Cold Case Task Force. Laura is the author of the world’s first book on crime scene staging and intimate partner homicides, where she often uses her own invention, The Kaleidoscope Crime Scene Reconstruction Laser System to rebuild bullet and bloodstain paths. A typical day for Laura could mean working in LPA’s Murder Room solving a case, in the field, on a crime scene, or on the set of a TV show. Though Laura doesn’t teach on the ground much any more, she teaches in LPA’s online school and presents a few short presentations a year.

Richard MerritDoctor Richard W. Merritt Ph.D.


Topic: Bugs and Bodies: The Role of Insects in Crime Scene Investigations

Dr. Richard W. Merritt, Ph.D. is an aquatic and forensic entomologist and ecologist specializing in the feeding ecology and biology of insects, especially the Diptera or true flies. He is currently Michigan State University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and previous Chair of the Department of Entomology. Dr. Merritt has conducted extensive research and published papers and book chapters in forensic entomology and assisted police departments, detectives, and governmental agencies with death scene investigations involving insects. He has taught courses in forensic entomology and has instructed FBI agents on death scene investigation techniques involving insects at the Human Body Farm in Tennessee. He has testified as an expert witness in over 30 trials involving forensic insects in criminal cases. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Entomology (ABFE), a Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and received the Life Time Achievement Award from this Academy.


Lisa SkinnerLisa Skinner

Special Agent Retired, Federal Bureau of Investigations

Topic: Facial Expression Interview

Lisa G. Skinner is a retired Federal Bureau of Investigation Supervisory Special Agent. During her 27 years as a Special Agent with the FBI, she served in the following Field Offices: Houston, Texas; Washington, D.C.; Tampa, Florida; Seattle, Washington; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Anchorage, Alaska. Her final assignment was as an instructor at the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Virginia.

Skinner’s investigative experience includes: Fugitives; Espionage; Foreign Counterintelligence; Domestic Terrorism; and Civil Rights. In 1994, the Hillsborough County, Florida Bar Association recognized her as the Federal Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. The award was presented for her investigation and the successful prosecution of two active duty U.S. Army personnel for Espionage. She is a graduate of the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute and served as the Polygraph Examiner for the Knoxville and Anchorage FBI Field Offices. Prior to being assigned to the FBI Academy, she served as the Chief Security Officer for the Anchorage FBI Field Office.

From 2006 until her retirement in 2013, Skinner was assigned to the FBI Academy as an instructor for the National Academy. While at the FBI National Academy, she was designated as an adjunct professor for the University of Virginia, and served as an instructor for Interviewing Strategies through Statement Analysis, Analysis of Verbal and Nonverbal Behavior and Investigative Interviewing and Interrogation.

In 2012, Skinner received the Jefferson Award from the University of Virginia for the research she and Dr. David Matsumoto conducted in verbal and nonverbal indicators of deception and veracity. This research was the basis of the class that they created specifically for the FBI National Academy, which combined Dr. Matsumoto’s years of research on microfacial expressions and emotional leakage with the techniques of statement analysis. Dr. Matsumoto’s and Skinner’s research has been published in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin and in the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology.

Skinner now serves as an Independent Consultant for Humintell and provides training in statement analysis and evaluating truthfulness and detecting deception through nonverbal behavior. Additionally, she assists law enforcement departments and agencies with investigative strategies.

Skinner received her Bachelor of Science degree in Corrections and Law Enforcement from Jacksonville State University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama.


District Attorney Tannaz MokayefTannaz Mokayef

District Attorney, Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office

Topic: The horrific tale of torture, mutilation and murder of Ukrainian model Iana Kasian

Tannaz Mokayef Received JD from the University of San Diego, school of law. She was hired as a Deputy District attorney with Los Angeles County in 1997. Tannaz worked at the Antelope Valley Branch for 7 years. Tannaz worked with the Victim Impact Program, prosecuting sexual assault cases. Tannaz eventually served as the Victim Impact Coordinator for the Antelope Valley and supervised the attorneys assigned to the sexual assault team. After her work in the Antelope Valley Branch Office, Tannaz was assigned to the San Fernando Branch Office where she worked for 8 years in Hardcore Gangs, prosecuting gang homicides. Tannaz is presently assigned to the Major Crimes Division, prosecuting complex homicide cases.

Prior to starting with the Los Angeles County District Attorney, Tannaz worked for 2.5 years as a Deputy District Attorney with the Tulare County DA’s Office.

Beth SilvermanBeth Silverman

District Attorney, Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office

Topic: The horrific tale of torture, mutilation and murder of Ukrainian model Iana Kasian

Ms. Silverman has been a Deputy District Attorney since 1994 in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She is currently assigned to the Major Crimes Division where she vertically prosecutes high-profile, complex homicides. During the last 11 years in this unit, she has successfully obtained the death penalty in several capital cases. She has also prosecuted multiple serial killers including Lonnie Franklin, Jr., aka “the Grim Sleeper,” Michael Hughes, aka “the Southside Slayer,” Chester Turner, Samuel Little, and Latece Brown. Many of these cases involved collaboration with multiple law enforcement agencies and lengthy task force investigations.

The majority of the homicide cases Ms. Silverman prosecutes involve sex crimes, domestic violence and forensic evidence, especially DNA and firearms evidence. In fact, the Lonnie Franklin case was the first case in the country where Familial DNA was utilized to solve a homicide.

Sergeant Bill CotterBill Cotter

Sergeant, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office

Topic: The horrific tale of torture, mutilation and murder of Ukrainian model Iana Kasian

Sergeant Bill Cotter is a thirty year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. After graduating from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy, he was assigned to Men’s Central Jail in Downtown Los Angeles. In 1992, he transferred to Lynwood Station where he worked as a patrol deputy and field training officer. He then transferred into detective bureau where he conducted investigations of property crimes and crimes against persons. After his assignment in detective bureau, Bill was transferred to an Asian Crime Task Force where he investigated crimes committed by members of Asian Organized Crime Groups and Asian Street Gangs. In 2001, Bill was promoted to the rank of sergeant and returned to patrol, assigned to East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station where he worked both patrol and Community Oriented Policing assignments. In 2003, he transferred to the Task Force for Regional Auto Theft Prevention as the supervisor of an auto theft team. In 2006, Bill transferred to Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. Sheriff’s Homicide provides investigative services related to homicides, suicide and accidental deaths that occur within Los Angeles County jurisdictions and several contract cities. Homicide Investigators are also tasked with conducting investigations related to shootings involving Sheriff’s Department and outside agency personnel that result in death or injury. In 2017, Bill transferred to the Sheriff’s Departments Special Enforcement Bureau- Arson and Explosives Detail where he conducts investigations related to destructive devices and arson.

Sergeant Robert MartindaleRobert Martindale

Sergeant, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office

Topic: The horrific tale of torture, mutilation and murder of Ukrainian model Iana Kasian

Sergeant Robert Martindale is a decorated thirty year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
After graduating the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy, he was assigned to Custody Operations at the Inmate Reception Center in downtown Los Angeles. He then transferred to Century Station, where he served as patrol deputy and a field training officer (FTO).
Following his time in patrol, he served as a gang crimes detective in Operation Safe Streets (OSS) for six years, targeting the most active and violent streets gangs in South Central Los Angeles. He promoted to the rank of sergeant and returned to patrol. Two years later, Sergeant Martindale was supervising the Crime Impact Unit, which is a mission focused unit, primarily targeting the most active gang members, as well as serving moderate to high risk search warrants throughout Los Angeles County.
Sergeant Martindale has been assigned to the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau for the past thirteen years. The Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau provides investigative services related primarily to homicides, shootings involving Department personnel that result in injury or death, homicides and officer involved shootings for other police agencies, found human remains, suspicious deaths, accidental deaths, suicides, missing adults and juveniles, and other complex criminal cases.

Attorney Brian CarneyBrian Carney

President / Attorney, WIN Interactive

Topic: Visualization of Crime Scenes: 3-D Animation, Timelines, Surveillance Video, Graphics

Brian Carney is a veteran prosecutor and the president of WIN Interactive, Inc., a Boston based litigation consulting and multimedia technology firm. For the past twenty years, Brian has been developing the highest-level graphics with empirical accuracy to deliver custom legal exhibits that educate and engage jurors at homicide trials. Brian has lectured on technology and the admissibility of demonstrative evidence to the American Bar Association, the National District Attorney’s Association, the National Association of Attorney’s General, and numerous state prosecutor associations. He has been involved with several high profile homicide cases, including: Nebraska v. Garcia, New York v. Neulander, and Connecticut v. Michael Skakel.

Officer Mike MiragliaMichael Miraglia

Officer, Boise Police Department

Topic: The rape and murder of transgender college student, Sierra Bush

Mike was born and raised in Brooklyn New York, then moved west 25 years ago and has been an Idaho law enforcement officer for 18 years. Over the course of his career, Mike has served as a Trooper, Patrol Officer, Task Force Officer with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Crisis Negotiator, Firearms Instructor, and a Gang Detective specializing in Human Trafficking cases. Mike has been assigned to the Boise Police Violent Crimes Unit since 2015, in which he conducts Robbery, Homicide, and Officer Involved Shooting cases. Mike holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from New York University, in addition to numerous law enforcement certifications.