Education & Training

The National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law

Forensic Medicine Odyssey: From Kennedy Assassination to
Scott Peterson Case

February 11, 2005
Stetson University College of Law, The Great Hall, 1401 61st Street South, Gulfport, FL

Cyril H. Wecht received his M.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and his J.D. degree from the University of Maryland.  He is certified by the American Board of Pathology in anatomic, clinical, and forensic pathology, and is a Fellow of the College of American Pathologists and the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and the National Association of Medical Examiners.  Dr. Wecht was formerly the Chairman of the Department of Pathology and President of the Medical Staff at St. Francis Central Hospital in Pittsburgh, and is actively involved as a medical-legal and forensic science consultant, author, and lecturer.  He also serves as the elected Coroner of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).

Dr. Wecht has appeared as a frequent guest on numerous national TV and radio shows, discussing various medicolegal and forensic scientific subjects, including medical malpractice; alcohol and drug abuse; assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and Reverend Martin Luther King; death of Elvis Presley; Sheppard case;  O.J. Simpson case; JonBenet Ramsey case; Diallo case; Chandra Levy death investigation; and Laci Peterson homicide.  These cases, as well as those involving Mary Jo Kopechne, Sunny von Bulow, Jean Harris, Dr. Jeffrey McDonald, the Waco Branch Davidian fire, Vincent Foster, and many others, are discussed from the perspective of Dr. Wecht’s own professional involvement, in his books, Cause of Death, Grave SecretsWho Killed JonBenet Ramsey? and Mortal Evidence.

Dr. Wecht has organized and conducted Postgraduate Medical-Legal Seminars in more than 50 countries throughout the world in his capacity as Director of the Pittsburgh Institute of Legal Medicine.  He has personally performed approximately 15,000 autopsies, and has supervised, reviewed, or been consulted on approximately 35,000 additional post-mortem examinations, including cases in several foreign countries.  Dr Wecht has testified in more than 1,000 civil, criminal, and workers compensation cases in state and federal courts in more than 30 states and several foreign countries.

He is the author of more than 475 professional publications, an editorial board member of 18 national and international medical-legal and forensic scientific publications, and editor of 35 books, including a 5 volume set, FORENSIC SCIENCES (Matthew Bender), and two 3 volume sets, Handling Soft Tissue Injury Cases  and Preparing and Winning Medical Negligence Cases  (both published by Michie).

He is a Clinical Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Graduate School of Public Health, an Adjunct Professor at Duquesne University Schools of Law, Pharmacy, and Health Sciences, a Distinguished Professor at Carlow College and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law at Duquesne University School of Law.   He has served as President of the American College of Legal Medicine and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and also as Chairman of both the Board of Trustees of the American Board of Legal Medicine and the American College of Legal Medicine Foundation.