Dr. Casey Jordan, Criminologist - Attorney

Sunday Chat with Violent Crime Expert Casey Jordan

Casey Jordan isn't a fan of shows like "CSI," perhaps because she's all too familiar with the violent crimes portrayed on such shows.

Jordan, 47, is a professor of justice and law administration at Western Connecticut State University, a criminologist, and an attorney who has spent more than 20 years working and teaching in the field as an expert on violent crime.

In addition, the New Milford woman was the in-house CNN criminologist during the 2002 Washington, D.C., sniper event, and has represented WestConn as an expert commentator on ABC News' "20/20," "Good Morning America," CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, "The O'Reilly Factor," Court TV, and "America's Most Wanted." She's also contributed to reports in The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor and The New York Times.

Jordan became interested in the psychology of violent crime after working for the Libyan mission to the United Nations in the 1980s and received a first-hand lesson in the politics of terrorism. She spoke with The News-Times about the changing nature of violent crime and what can be done to prevent it.

Q: What are some of the most difficult or disturbing cases you've worked on?

A: I've interviewed a lot of convicts in prison, violent offenders and worked on cases with police. I think perhaps the one that is really the most interesting to me is the case of Kendall Francois, who was a serial killer from Poughkeepsie, not terribly famous (and) it was fascinating to me because I was contacted by the police before the serial killer was actually apprehended. It was the years following his conviction for the murders of eight women he stored in his house. Not that it was in our backyard, but his father worked in Danbury. It was almost in our backyard (and) I was astonished by how few people heard about the case, because the eight women that he killed were drug-addicted street women and it made me more concerned about the vulnerability of the victims of serial killers and violence in general (who are) very often perceived as disposable members of our society. And over the years, I think I've really -- because of the Kendall Francois case -- begun to understand and perhaps even resent how the most famous cases are those in which the victims are middle- or upper-class, highly attractive Caucasian people. What does it take to get the loss of life in the news?

Q: What is it like talking to someone like that? Does it come across immediately how disturbed they are?

A: Not at all. I've talked to many of them and some are more disturbed than others. You have to understand the strategy of talking to them is very different depending on their personality and background. Some of them you make an appointment with. Some of them you just show up and try to surprise them. With Kendall Francois, he was as normal as -- talking to him is just like talking to your cousin at a wedding or something. There's nothing creepy about Kendall per se. I've definitely talked to violent offenders who gave me the creeps, but Kendall's not really one of them. That's always the stereotype that when we catch these serial killers, the family and friends always say, `We had no idea, he seemed so normal.' Believe it or not when you meet them, you have pretty much the same reaction most of the time, they come across as completely normal. That's, of course, how they get away with it.

Q: The police will call you in as an expert on criminal psychology?

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