Honorable Dennis J. Curran

The Disappearance of Dr. Parkman: Blood & Ivy at the Harvard Medical School

This case is the most legally historic murder trial in the history of Massachusetts. In this 1849 case, a Harvard Medical School Professor and physician murders another Harvard Medical School Professor, dismembers the corpse and hides the body parts in his medical school office.This case has it all: a grisly murder, a dismembered corpse, a wealthy victim and a respected suspect. The case also established the legal principle of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” a requirement that has since been adopted by just about every state in the nation, and it all started in Boston with this case.

Honorable Dennis J. Curran – Justice, Massachusetts Superior Court (ret.) (judgedenniscurran.com) served as a Massachusetts trial judge for 15 years. He received four statewide awards for his deep commitment and belief in the justice system and dedication to the law. For the past three years he has taught a well-acclaimed course entitled “Great Trials That Changed History: A Judge’s Perspective” at the Wellesley-Weston Lifetime Learning program. He is a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and a member of the Board of Directors of the Lincoln Forum. He was recently featured on a history panel broadcast on C-SPAN 2.