Home Be in AFM Women Who Move the Valley Women Who Move the Valley 2009 - Page 4

Community Crime Consultant
Story by Ryan Lorenzo

Erin Spiers is not your everyday forensic psychologist. This Scottsdale expert has made a name for herself with her involvement nationally in the Columbine case, and locally in identifying the Baseline Killer.

"Columbine unequivocally changed my life," Spiers says. "You spend a lot of time in places and viewing things that the general public would try to avoid." Bill Kurtis documented her Columbine work on the A&E program "Investigative Reports," while Steven Pitt, founder of local forensic and general psychiatry practice Steven Pitt & Associates, awarded Spiers a team position to discover the cause of the tragedy. Her work entailed watching the school's security tape, reading more than 17,000 pages of material and interviewing anyone with a connection to the mass murderers at different phases of their lives. The two-year project, which additionally served as her graduate school dissertation, concluded with an open presentation to the community and a closed presentation to the governor. From there, the district attorney for the Kobe Bryant case in Colorado requested her firm’s consulting services for the criminal trial, which was ultimately dropped by the defendant.

Locally, Spiers offered her expertise to Phoenix police to help identify the Baseline Killer. She attended task force meetings and analyzed data that helped to expand offender behavior instead of pinpointing the looks of a killer who was said to have murdered nine people and sexually assaulted others along the same street from 2004 to 2006. Recently, Spiers was hired to provide an independent psychological evaluation of Jennifer Mally, the Paradise Valley High School teacher who pleaded guilty in March to sexual conduct with a student. Spiers later testified at the sentencing hearing.

When Spiers is not sharing her know-how with the legal community, she seeks to give back. A friend of hers lived in an apartment under a bridge while her home was damaged and her business demolished by Hurricane Katrina. Spiers helped to collect money and create packages, which allowed her friend to eventually return to a normal life and open up a new business. Whether solving a national murder case or simply helping a friend in need, Spiers' willingness to step up and assist others makes her an ally to our community and beyond.