Department of Criminal Justice to host author, alumnus on Oct. 28

The "Under the Trestle" book cover.
The "Under the Trestle" book cover.

On October 28, 2019, the Radford University Department of Criminal Justice will host an opportunity for a variety of students pursuing criminal justice, behavioral sciences, English and other majors at 6 p.m. in Preston Hall’s Bondurant Auditorium.

The faculty have assembled representatives, each of whom played a role in the case of the disappearance of Gina Renee Hall and subsequent conviction of Stephen Epperly, to discuss the notable criminal justice case that resulted in the first ‘no body’ homicide conviction in Virginia.

Ron Peterson Jr. ’87, who authored  “Under the Trestle,” a book detailing the landmark case, will be present as part of the panel. Additionally, Everett Shockley, the prosecutor, and Woody Lookabill, the defense attorney, will be featured on the panel.

Also joining the panel is Virginia State Police Trooper Austin Hall, the law enforcement professional responsible for first questioning the suspect in this case.

The presentation will provide Radford University students, faculty and staff an inside look into the case, as attendees will see material and hear information that have not been shared at previous events. Audio segments from the opening arguments of the trial and the judge’s sentencing will also be heard at the event.

“The tragedy occurred when I was in graduate school in the area, and I distinctly remember following the investigation and trial during that time,” said Isaac Van Patten, professor and interim department chair of criminal justice. “Years later, working for the Virginia State Police, I interviewed Epperly, as we were trying to resolve Virginia’s second ‘no body’ homicide. Even though I remember the events and interviewed Epperly myself, I learned even more from reading Peterson’s book. This is a special opportunity for our students to learn from the key players in this landmark case – and being local – makes that much more compelling.”

The event, which is also open to the public, offers an inside look into a landmark criminal case, giving Radford University students an experiential learning opportunity to see how the case progressed.

Oct 22, 2019