To Learn and Die in LA: Crime Scenes, Criminalistics, and the Cutting Edge in Los Angeles: An Interview with Former LASD Criminalist Professor Donald Johnson of CSULA

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This episode brought about a first for us. We recorded this program before a live audience — a meeting of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, at the Tam O’Shanter Restaurant.

Professor Johnson provided many insights on the work of those who scientifically examine crime scenes and the evidence gathered from them. He talked about changes in forensic science, new frontiers, and forensic science education. We know our listeners will love this episode!


Professor Donald James Johnson is an expert on criminalistics, with emphasis on crime scene investigation and reconstruction (homicides and sexual assaults), and forensic biology. His research interests include the application of new technologies to the field of criminalistics. He was formerly a senior criminalist at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, where he was involved in the scientific investigation of violent crimes.

California Forensic Science Institute:
School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics at CSULA:
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Scientific Services video:
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:
American Academy of Forensic Sciences

We’d like to thank Craig Faustus Buck, president of the So Cal Chapter of MWA, for his kind invitation to record a live program at a meeting, and Timothy Burke for his technical assistance.