College students across the country are using Kansas’s BTK serial murder case as a learning tool, reports the Associated Press. In forensic sciences and related courses, the case has energized students like nothing else, professors say. “They are actually seeing their subject matter come to life in front of their eyes,” said Scott Thornsley, who teaches about serial killers and violent crime behavior at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania.
Students at Georgia State University in Atlanta were free to be imaginative about what type of person BTK might be because so little was known, said Volkan Topalli of the criminal justice department. “I would say that 80 percent of the students come up with the lazy answer, which is he’s a sicko,” Topalli said. In the master’s level forensics science program at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, students have studied the BTK case all year. The fact that suspect Dennis Rader is married and has children does not fit the profile that student Jackie Hoehner developed. Hoehner had theorized that the suspect would be divorced or never married.