Norfolk Bank Hold Up, Death Penalty and Rape are Topics of UNK Criminal Justice Conference Set for Feb. 23

Kurt Siedschlaw
Department of Criminal Justice, 308.865.8774

The Norfolk U.S. Bank hold up, the Nebraska death penalty and a father’s story about his daughter’s rape are featured topics for a criminal justice conference on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus this month.

The annual conference, sponsored by the UNK Department of Criminal Justice, will be Wednesday, Feb. 23, in the Nebraskan Student Union Great Room.

“This program promises to provide participants with very real and current information on violent crime victimization and the impact of that crime on people in Nebraska,” said Kurt Siedschlaw, conference coordinator and a UNK associate professor of criminal justice.

Joseph M. Smith, county attorney and lead prosecutor for the Norfolk U.S. Bank murder cases, will open the conference. He will speak on “The U.S. Bank Murder Prosecution: Significant Issues” from 8:30 – 10:15 a.m. From 10:30 – 11:45 a.m., Steven King, director of planning and research for the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, will present the history of the death penalty in Nebraska.

The conference will conclude with Omaha World-Herald news columnist Mike Kelly’s presentation, “A Journalistic Perspective on Violent Crime and a Father” from 1:15 – 2:45 p.m. On June 21, 2002, Kelly’s daughter Bridget, then a 24-year-old schoolteacher in Texas, was abducted, raped, shot three times and left for dead. Her miraculous survival has drawn wide attention, as has her decision to go public with the fact that she was sexually assaulted. Her story has been told on ABC Prime Time, CBS, BBC Radio, and in newspapers and magazines across the nation.

Kelly describes the impact of crime on a family through personal experience. He has received the American Society of Newspaper Editors national award for commentary and column writing for pieces regarding his daughter.

He has worked for the World-Herald since 1970, when he graduated from his hometown University of Cincinnati. He has covered police, courts and city hall, and spent a decade on the sports beat before returning to the news section in 1991.