04 February 2018 ~ 0 Comments

February Monthly Gathering – Werner Spitz: World-Renowned Forensic Pathologist

Former Wayne County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Werner Spitz has offered his expertise on some of the most high-profile legal investigations of the century. He co-wrote a highly respected book on forensic pathology, and has often found himself in the position of criticizing the official investigations into widely publicized murders and wrongful deaths.

In 1969, Dr. Spitz testified on behalf of the parents of Mary Jo Kopechne, who died after Senator Ted Kennedy crashed a car in which she was the passenger. Years later, Spitz was called upon to re-examine the results of the investigation into John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Although Spitz agreed with the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, he said that the autopsy of Kennedy was “botched.”

Dr. Spitz went on to testify for the defense in the Casey Anthony trial, arguing that the autopsy of Anthony’s deceased child was “shoddy” and insufficient to pinpoint homicide as the cause of death. He also consulted on investigations into Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, JonBenet Ramsey’s death, and O.J. Simpson’s civil murder trial, to name but a few of his many cases.

Dr. Spitz was born in Poland and raised in Israel, where he received his medical doctorate, and began his career as a medical examiner. He moved to America in 1959. His decision to leave Israel was partly inspired by the lack of need for his chosen career path there. “In seven years in Israel, there was only one murder.” He said. “It just wasn’t the right place for a forensic pathologist.” Spitz later served as Deputy Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, Maryland, and Chief Medical Examiner for Wayne County. Today, Dr. Spitz is a professor of pathology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, and an adjunct professor of pathology at the University of Windsor in Canada.

Join us Saturday February 17th at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield, to learn more about Dr. Spitz and his incredible career. Doors open at 7pm. The program begins at 8pm.

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