Lubbock Christian University Social Work and Criminal Justice Departments have hosted numerous events this month to prevent crime in correlation with Victims of Crime month. The departments recently invited Jess Peterson, Executive Director of Grand Court and former LCU Behavioral Sciences adjunct professor, to share his story of being robbed at gunpoint.
“It is important for students in LCU’s criminal justice program and those in the helping professions to understand how the system works and what role they each play in that system,” says LCU Criminal Justice Professor, James Shewan. “Also, the general university public needs to see that the criminal justice system does work and did work in this case.”
Three masked men crashed down the front door to the Peterson’s home at 2 am one night in October 2012. Two of the men put a shotgun and a knife to Mr. and Mrs. Peterson, while the third man ransacked the house.
The men stole around $50, Mr. Peterson’s Tech ring and wedding ring, Mrs. Peterson’s jewelry, and a portable microwave. After this traumatic experience, Mr. Peterson called 911 and detectives arrived to do a thorough investigation. Over the next few months, police discovered the Petersons were one of a series of similar break-in robberies.
LPD officers eventually found the 16 year-old leader of the robbery gang. In March 2014, a trial was set and the Petersons gave their testimonies. The jury convicted the defendant who was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Each LCU Department of Social Work and Criminal Justice faculty member has extensive experience in dealing with real cases and real issues facing society today. Professors James Shewan and Dana Cooley in the criminal justice program have a combined fifty-five years of real world experience in dealing with the criminal justice system at the federal, state, local, and military levels. Shewan served nearly twenty-one years on the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and he worked for over nine years as a deputy district attorney in the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office in Reno, Nevada. Cooley served as the 132nd District Attorney for eighteen years, and she has a twenty-five year career as a prosecutor. Both the criminal justice program and the social work program have a wealth of talented and experienced professors who not only know the subjects they teach, but have lived the subjects in their life.