My first job as a journalist was covering the cops/courts/crime beat in Cañon City.
It was an odd job, to say the least. But I learned a lot — not only as a journalist learning how the journalism industry functioned, but also all the ins-and-outs of court proceedings.
During that time, I reported on nearly every type of criminal activity one could imagine — from arson to homicide and everything in between. I commuted back to the Denver area to visit often, and I’d bring my friends the newspapers upon their request, as they always wanted to catch up on the non-fictionalized true crime stories.
Perhaps that job was what piqued my interest in criminology. It’s probably nothing I would pursue for a degree or certification, but it is an interesting topic when community learning opportunities present themselves.
On May 13, I went to a CSI Regis University presentation. For this one, Don Lindley, a retired Denver police officer, who has been a Regis faculty member for 20 years, brought in Lt. Darren Versiga of the Pascagoula Police Department in Mississippi. Versiga presented on his role in investigating on the Samuel “Sam” Little case.
Little is known to be one of the most notorious serial killers in U.S. history. Between 1970 and 2005, he confessed to killing 93 people. As of Nov. 2021, law enforcement has confirmed 62 of those confessions.
I wasn’t sure what to expect at the event, but I knew it would good. Universities always put on excellent programming.
If I were to describe the presentation, I would say it was like a mix between a documentary like one would watch on John Wayne Gacy or Ted Bundy, and a conversation with a homicide detective combined with a crash course in criminology.
Versiga was an excellent presenter. Of course, some of the details in the case were gruesome — this was an adults-only event. Versiga was tactful during these parts, and discussed the finer details of how the investigation was conducted in layman’s terms so that all of us who were not criminology students, and don’t have a background in the criminal investigation fields, could understand the information.
The CSI Regis presentation on Little was associated with the university’s Criminology Speaker Series, which is expected to start back up again this fall. All the presentations are free and open to the greater community.
Though the 2022 schedule has yet to be announced, to learn more about Regis University’s Criminology Speaker Series in general, visit regis.edu/signature-events/criminology-speaker-series.
While I’m on the topic, I must mention that it saddens me how many cases go cold and unsolved. I would encourage everyone to take a moment to look through the unsolved cases listed on Metro Denver Crime Stoppers: metrodenvercrimestoppers.com/unsolved-cases.
If any information comes to mind about any of the unsolved cases, contact Crime Stoppers — a nonprofit that operates only on contributions and without taxpayer or government funding.
All tips remain anonymous and who knows, you might be able to help solve a cold case.