National Science Foundation Cyber Corps students at The University of Tulsa helped police crack a triple homicide, and now that case is being profiled on a national television program, Forensic Files.
“TU students helped gather electronic evidence and identify the murderer,” said Professor Sujeet Shenoi, who heads TU’s Cyber Corps. The program prepares students for careers in cyber security and many go on to work in federal intelligence agencies. “These are brilliant students, committed to helping their community and their country.”
TU launched its Cyber Corps program in 2001. Since then, the program has trained hundreds of students. The NSF’s Federal Cyber Service: Scholarship for Service and the Department of Defense’s Information Assurance Scholarship Program support many of the students.
Shenoi said the university has an extraordinarily close relationship with the city, the Tulsa Police Department and other law enforcement agencies. Through a unique arrangement, TPD’s Cyber Crimes Unit is housed on the university campus and detectives work alongside students, Shenoi said.
This particularly high-profile investigation involved the 2003 murder of a Tulsa couple, Fred and Rebecca Barney, and a passerby, Kenneth Maxwell. James Kidwell was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The case broke open after police found a computer in a home where Kidwell lived that had information linking him to one of the victims. TU Cyber Corps students worked with Tulsa Police detectives to extract vital e-mails and instant messages from the computer’s hard drive.
The Forensic Files show delves into the world of forensic science, profiling intriguing crimes, accidents, and outbreaks of disease from around the world. The Tulsa episode aired on truTV network on Feb. 11, 2011.