Join Retired Massachusetts Superior Court Justice Dennis J. Curran for "The Disappearance of Dr. Parkman: Blood & Ivy at the Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 1849." a lecture from his series “Great Trials That Changed History: A Judge’s Perspective”
The 1849 murder of Dr. George Parkman in Boston stands as one of the most - if not the most - sensational trials of the 19th century. This case has it all: a grisly murder, a dismembered corpse, a wealthy victim, a respected suspect, a questionable lead witness for
the prosecution and unusual court proceedings. Nearly 60,000 spectators were ushered through the Boston courtroom in 10-minute intervals. An all-out media blitz ensued, with journalists traveling from Europe to Boston to cover the trial. Ultimately,the case spawned books, documentaries and even an iPhone app. The forensics of the case—one of the first trials to allow scientific evidence as testimony, and the first to allow dental evidence—are explored along with a brief history of the “Spunkers” Club, a secret group of body-snatchers at the Harvard Medical School. The trial is legally historic as it established the legal standard of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” – a requirement that has since been adopted by just about every state in the nation.
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