Dr. Henry Lee, a renowned forensic scientist, visited the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office on Friday (June 7) at the invitation of DA Paul D. Connick Jr., to speak to prosecutors on crime scene reconstruction and forensic analysis. (JPDA photos)
It was 1986 and Paul D. Connick Jr. was a young Jefferson Parish assistant district attorney prosecuting a complex two-defendant murder case when he first sought advice from Dr. Henry Lee.
A renowned forensic scientist who immigrated from Taiwan in 1965, Dr. Lee had already established his international reputation in criminal investigations in Connecticut, where he worked his way up as chief criminologist with the state police to becoming that agency’s commissioner.
Connick decided to attempt to lure Dr. Lee down South.
“I bought 200 pounds of crawfish and shipped them to him,” Connick joked.
“That’s a good lawyer,” Dr. Lee quipped in response.
At Connick’s invitation, Dr. Lee traveled to Louisiana again this week to present a course on crime scene reconstruction and forensic analysis to Jefferson Parish assistant district attorneys as part of their continuing legal education requirements. The JPDA Media Room was filled to capacity with prosecutors and employees during the presentation on Friday (June 7).
Dr. Lee’s involvement in the 1986 murder case was the start of a decades-long relationship. DA for more than 20 years now, Connick has consulted with Dr. Lee on numerous high-profile murder cases, of late including the murder and dismemberment of French Quarter dancer Jaren Lockhart.
“In this business, in this line of work, we have to get it right,” Connick told his prosecutors. “So I want people I can trust to tell me we got it right. With Henry, I know.”
The namesake for the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven, Conn., Dr. Lee has consulted on more than 8,000 criminal cases in 47 countries. In the United States, he has worked on crimes such as the O.J. Simpson case and the re-investigation of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
He helped debunk the conspiracy theory that President Bill Clinton was responsible for the death of Vince Foster, who committed suicide in 1983. Dr. Lee also helped confirm President Clinton’s White House tryst with Monica Lewinsky.
Weaving advice with anecdotal stories from his career, Dr. Lee recounted many of the high-profile cases during his presentation.
“I only do one thing: Make the impossible possible,” Dr. Lee told the audience.