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The True Crime Lecture Series

The Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas

The Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas

Since its inception in October of 2019, the Criminal Justice Institute’s True Crime Lecture Series has welcomed 20 internationally renowned speakers and authors and entertained nearly 4,000 fans. Fortified by their combined 62-year tenure in the FBI, CJI directors Scott Duffey and Dr. Ray Carr utilize their extensive FBI contacts, mostly FBI agents, profilers and authors, and invite them to detail the most famous (and infamous) cases in law enforcement history. That’s a real “get” for true crime buffs, and fans from the tri-state area have been riveted. Duffey, who manages the True Crime Lecture Series, constantly updates the schedule. “It’s been inspiring to bring such high-level cases to our audiences,” he says. “That includes cases like the Unabomber, Waco, and the Pizza Bomber, to name a few. Even though I spent my career in the FBI, I always learn new things about the investigations, as do our true crime enthusiasts.”

Author, prosecutor and FBI agent (ret.) Terrence Hake and Private Investigator Dave Mac Neil are lined up, and new speakers are booked often. 

Visit cji.wilmu.edu for the latest.


Terrence Hake

Terrence Hake

Terrence Hake: Operation Greylord

Nov. 25, 2023

Terrence Hake served for five years as the prosecutor in the Cook County State Attorney’s Office in Chicago and later as an FBI agent in Chicago. In April of 1980, he assisted the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General in investigating the Cook County Court system. For nearly four years, he worked undercover, posing as a corrupt prosecutor by accepting bribes from attorneys and later as an attorney in private practice making payoffs to judges and court personnel for dismissing cases. The investigation, known as “Greylord,” resulted in bribery and tax charges filed against 103 judges, lawyers, and other court personnel. By the time the final Greylord trial concluded in 1997, Hake had testified against 23 defendants. It is one of the FBI’s most successful undercover investigations.

After serving in federal law enforcement for 23 years, Hake retired from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General. He returned to practicing law as an assistant state attorney in Cook County. A 1977 Loyola University of Chicago School of Law graduate, Hake authored “Operation Greylord: The True Story of an Untrained Undercover Agent and America’s Biggest Corruption Bust.” 


Dave Mac Neil

Dave Mac Neil

Dave Mac Neil: Boston Marathon Bombers 

Feb. 13, 2024

Dave Mac Neil was instrumental as the local crime scene point-of-contact during the investigation and capture of the Boston Marathon bombers. He is the president of MacNeil Investigations & Forensic Consulting and a detective for the Watertown (Massachusetts) Police Department, working in its Division of Criminal Investigations. 

Mac Neil, a licensed Massachusetts private investigator, is a sought-after speaker, appearing at conferences, symposiums, and seminars and specializing in forensics best practices, crime scene investigations, and violent crimes.

A graduate of Western New England College, Mac Neil also attended the National Forensic Academy Session XVII, an intensive 10-week training program designed to meet the needs of law enforcement agencies in evidence identification, collection, and preservation, and took specialized courses from the DEA, FBI, and United States Secret Service academies. He has served the Licensed Private Detectives Association Of Massachusetts, Inc. as a board member and chair of its Education Committee. In addition, Mac Neill teaches for the U.S. Department of Justice LEIC National Forensic Academy. 


Steve Lazarus

Steve Lazarus

Steve Lazarus: Atlanta Bioterror Attack

March 12, 2024

A first-time author, retired FBI special agent, and United States Air Force veteran, Steve Lazarus served 22 years in the FBI: the first half investigating drug trafficking organizations and violent street gangs in Atlanta, then as a bomb technician, which took him to Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan as part of the Global War on Terror. After retiring from the FBI in 2018, he spent several years as a national security contractor in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  

His debut novel, “Call Me Sonny,” was inspired by one of his real-life cases. After arresting a subject who threatened to unleash a bioterror attack on the Atlanta subway system, Lazarus and his partner were on the receiving end of a death threat from the soon-to-be convicted felon. The subject would spend the next 25 years in prison, but Lazarus wondered if he could make good on his threat, even from behind bars. The most logical solution would have been for him to hire a hit man, which inspired the novel’s premise. Written throughout a year in Abu Dhabi, the Florida Keys, and Texas hill country, the book incorporates the personalities, anecdotes, and experiences of Lazarus’s multi-
faceted FBI career. He hopes it will be the first in a series of Bryce Chandler crime thrillers.


Daniel J. DeSimone

Daniel J. DeSimone

Daniel J. DeSimone: Chicago Mayor Corruption

May 14, 2024

Daniel J. DeSimone is an honorably discharged and decorated veteran of the United States Armed Forces, having served domestically and internationally in the military police ranks for nearly five years. Following his military service, DeSimone served for 23 years as an FBI special agent, holding various positions of increased responsibility in his six field and headquarters assignments. 

DeSimone worked extensively with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies while leading several multi-agency task forces. He served as case agent for several successful criminal and national security matters, and held key roles in high-profile matters such as 9/11, Waco/Koresh, O.J. Simpson, and La Cosa Nostra, where he successfully infiltrated a faction of the Gambino crime family in a long-term FBI undercover operation. DeSimone also taught FBI special agents and National FBI Academy attendees.

As the FBI’s former chief of Undercover and Sensitive Operations, and a certified FBI undercover operative, he understands the complexities and challenges of law enforcement operations. Before his retirement from the FBI, DeSimone was its lead to the private sector, gaining important knowledge, understanding, and experience in the relationship between the public and private sectors. He received written accolades from three FBI directors for whom he served. 

In terms of public service, DeSimone was awarded knighthood in 2011 under order of Pope Benedict XVI. Following his career in government service, he was senior director of Investigative Resources at Thomson Reuters, where he served as the company’s chief interface with law enforcement agencies across the United States and members of the corporate security ranks. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Association of State Criminal Investigators, and co-founder of the Lewes, Delaware, Police Foundation.  

DeSimone is also a Delaware licensed private investigator. In 2021, he delivered United States Department of Justice resources to Sussex County, Delaware, to teach police deescalation training to multiple law enforcement agencies.

— Maria Hess

True Crime Lecture Series

  • All true crime lectures are presented at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 4727 Concord Pike, in North Wilmington, from 5:30-8 p.m. Light fare.
  • Law enforcement officers can receive training credit hours for each lecture.
  • The series is free and open to the public, but registration is required at cji.wilmu.edu.
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