Henry Lee (forensic scientist)

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Dr. Henry C. Lee
Dr Lee Official State Photo.jpg
Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Safety
In office
Personal details
Born (1938-11-22) November 22, 1938 (age 78)
Rugao, Republic of China
Nationality American
Alma mater Central Police College (Police Science)
John Jay College (B.S.)
New York University (M.S., Ph.D.)
University of New Haven (Honorary Degree)
Occupation Forensic Scientist

Henry Chang-Yu Lee (Chinese: 李昌鈺; pinyin: Lǐ Chāngyù; born 22 November 1938), is a Taiwanese (Republic of China)-born American forensic scientist. He is one of the world's foremost forensic scientists and founder of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science.

Early life and career[edit]

The eleventh of thirteen children, Lee was born in Rugao city, Jiangsu province, China, and fled to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese Civil War in the late 1940s. His father, who was traveling separately from the rest of the family, perished when the passenger ship Taiping sank on 27 January 1949. Growing up fatherless, Lee never aspired to attend university; instead, he went on to graduate in 1960 from the Central Police College[1] with a degree in Police Science. (Central Police College is a "service academy" in Taiwan, and it is tuition-free, with living stipend provided.) Lee then began his work with the Taipei Police Department, where he rose to the rank of captain at age 25, the youngest in Taiwanese history. He later emigrated to the U.S. with his wife in 1965.

In 1972, after coming to the United States to pursue his education, he earned a B.S. in forensic science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He went on to study science and biochemistry at New York University and earned his M.S. in 1974 and Ph. D. in biochemistry in 1975.


Current career[edit]

Lee is currently the director of Forensic Research and Training Center at the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science and Distinguished Chair Professor in Forensic Science at the University of New Haven. Lee was the Chief Emeritus for the Connecticut State Police during 2000 to 2010 and was the Commissioner of Public Safety for the State of Connecticut during 1998 to 2000 and has served as that state’s Chief Criminalist and Director of State Police Forensic laboratory from 1978 to 2000.

Lee has lectured widely, written hundreds of articles published in professional journals, and authored or co-authored more than 40 books on forensic science, crime scene investigation and crime scene reconstruction. He has acted as an advisor or consultant to many law enforcement agencies. He hosted a show on the truTV network, formerly Court TV, titled Trace Evidence: The Case Files of Dr. Henry Lee, which highlighted his work on well-known cases. Lee has also appeared widely on television. He has been a guest on the Taiwanese talk show KangXi Lai Le.

His biography, 神探李昌鈺破案實錄, True Crime Experiences with Dr. Henry Chang-Yu Lee was authored by Attorney Daniel Hong Deng of Rosemead, California.

Famous cases[edit]

He has worked on famous cases such as the JonBenét Ramsey murder case, the Helle Crafts woodchipper murder, the O.J. Simpson and Laci Peterson cases, the post-9/11 forensic investigation, the Washington, DC sniper shootings and reinvestigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Lee investigated the 3-19 Shooting Incident of R.O.C. President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu.

Following the O.J. Simpson case, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr hired Lee to join his investigation of the death of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster, who killed himself in Fort Marcy Park on 20 July 1993.

He also was consulted on the 1991 death of investigative journalist Danny Casolaro. Initially, Lee said the evidence presented to him by police was consistent with suicide, but when additional evidence was revealed to him a few years later, Lee formally withdrew his earlier statement.

Lee was consulted as a blood spatter analyst during the trial of Michael Peterson, a fiction writer and politician from North Carolina who, in 2003, was convicted of the murder of his wife, Kathleen Peterson.

In 2008, Lee was involved in the early stages of investigation for the missing Orlando toddler, Caylee Anthony.[2]

Phil Spector trial[edit]

In May 2007, Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler, the judge in the Phil Spector murder trial, said that he had concluded "Lee hid or destroyed" a piece of evidence from the scene of actress Lana Clarkson's shooting. Lee denied the allegation, and "when he testified before Fidler, Lee said he was astonished and insulted by claims by two former members of Spector's defense team that he had collected a small white object that was never turned over to prosecutors, as the law requires."[3] University of Southern California law professor Jean Rosenbluth said that Judge Fidler's ruling was "very narrow" and noted that the judge had made no finding that Lee had lied on the stand or acted maliciously.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Lee currently resides in Connecticut with his wife Margaret, whom he married in 1962.


  1. ^ About Central Police College
  2. ^ Orlando Sentinel, November 15, 2008
  3. ^ a b Spector murder trial: Misstep could haunt renowned scientist, Court TV (republished by CNN) (December 31, 2007).

External links[edit]

  • Official website of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the University of New Haven