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July, 1998

Anatomy of a Murder

This is an online activity in which users follow a murder case from the discovery of a body through the trial. Users learn about the United States justice system.

Most pages have one or two photos with paragraphs of descriptive text. Some of the pictures are large and might take some time to load.

The story is divided into chapters. Each page links to the next fact sheet, next chapter, main table of contents, or to the home page. Users can navigate the site easily and locate their place quickly if the activity has been suspended.

Viewers at this site will follow a murder case, from the discovery of the body up to through the trial of the accused. Users will learn about police procedures, legal documents, and paper work; the constitutional rights of an accused person; and the way the courts work. The "Facts Behind the Story" links lead to teaching worksheets that discuss specific concepts behind the case. In addition to the story, the site has links to major Supreme Court decisions (such as Miranda and Dred Scot, along with search and seizure laws.) Users will find a glossary of legal terms and images of legal documents. The site has information on controversial issues such as the death penalty and jury reform. There are links to other legal information sites. Some of the material here is for mature audiences. Educators should view the site before using the murder story as an online lesson. If the story is objectionable, teachers could still make use of the other information at the site.