William Bass, renowned forensic anthropologist and author of several fiction and non-fiction novels as well as the founder of the "Body Farm," recounted four of the most interesting cases throughout his career.
"There is nothing that people like to see more than death and destruction," Bass said. "Tonight we're going to talk a little about death and destruction."
The first case depicted by Bass involved the murder of four prostitutes in Knoxville.
During his discussion of the case, Bass recounted the story of the suspect, Mr. Husky, beating up prostitutes instead of paying them.
Throughout his recounting of the story, Bass showed pictures of some of the suspects who were found on the case while injecting some humor.
"Any time you drive up to a crime scene and find a condom stuck to your tire, you know this is going to be a good case," he said.
Bass detailed the case by teaching the crowd how the bodies were found by getting a group together and doing a line search, how the identity of the bodies were found by fingerprinting the corpses, as well as how animals interact with the dead bodies.
Although the bodies were identified and the cause of death was determined, Husky could not be put in jail because of a lack of evidence that he had killed the women.
"There has been more money spent on this case in the judicial system in Tennessee than any case in the history of Tennessee, and they had a hung jury," Bass said.
The second case involved an East Tennessee State University student who had been shot and later burned after the murderers had tried to hide the evidence.
"The victim was shot through the back of the head, coming out through the mandible," Bass said.
For this specific case, it was important for the forensic anthropologists to be able to piece together the bones in order to identify the cause of death to the victim.
Bass discussed the murder of a 15-year-old African-American boy for his third case.
In the case, the body decay was so bad that the victim could not be identified by conventional methods.
"This is a 15-year-old, black high-school student from an indigent family, and he has never been to the dentist or the hospital, therefore he has no records of identification," Bass said. "We have a picture of the skull and a picture of the boy, and we can superimpose the two."
The final case involved a historical case in Nashville.
Colonel William Shy's cast-iron coffin was broken into, and the flesh was still present on the bones of the Colonel.
"Looking at the body, I said, 'What you have here is a 28-year-old white male who has been dead for a year,'" Bass said. "To make a long story short, Colonel Shy was a 26-year-old white man who had been dead 113 years. I had only missed it (by) 112 years."
Bass gave the speech to a packed Cox Auditorium and stuck around to sign books and take pictures after the speech.
Students who attended the lecture seemed to enjoy it.
"I thought the speech was wonderful," Maggie Weaver, freshman in electrical engineering, said. "It was a great opportunity to listen to a famous anthropologist speak and to listen to his experiences."
The speech was held Tuesday at Cox Auditorium in the Alumni Memorial Building, and all the money raised from ticket sales went to support the Undergraduate Anthropology Association on campus.