Every new book I write is a new adventure. Occasionally, my persistence pays off and the true-crimes readers of all shapes and sizes can benefit from the depth of my research and fresh perspectives of the people I can interview.
Every author is different, but I tend to take the advice of veteran true-crime writer Gary C. King. I’ll often send a formal type-written letter through the mail to the person I would like to interview. Some respond favorably and immediately. Other times, I never hear back from the person. That’s just the luck of the draw. Not everybody wants to be interviewed for a true-crime book, and yet many people do. You just never know.
On May 7, I received an unexpected positive response from David Kofoed, who now lives in North Carolina. Kofoed was commander of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office CSI unit in Omaha, Nebraska from around 2000 until 2010 — when he was sentenced to prison in connection with blood-planting incidents in two unrelated murder cases that he worked on in neighboring Cass County.
Kofoed got out of prison in summer of 2012. Coincidently, Kofoed happened to be the key star of the case that’s my next book for WildBlue Press: the heinous murder of University of Nebraska at Omaha student Jessica O’Grady, age 19. Jessica’s homicide happened in Omaha and it was not associated with the pair of regional murder cases that sent Kofoed to prison.
Kofoed’s reflections and extensive insight about the CSI work that went into the Jessica O’Grady murder case will be detailed in my upcoming book.
Here’s a couple of questions I posed to Kofoed as part of my book research:
Me: “Tell me about your very first night of the case?”
Kofoed: “I was called at home either by Josh (Connelly) or Christine (Gabig). I met them at the scene near 130 and Blondo Street. Alex Hayes was the Omaha Police Department homicide lieutenant at the time. We met outside the residence. I was briefed by Alex Hayes in front of the house … I remember that night as being a lot of tedious and methodical crime scene work. There is nothing glamorous about it. It is a step by step process. I remember that night I felt really lucky to have Josh and Christine at the scene.”
Me: “Do you miss the forensic work? Do you think you would still be working at Douglas County to this day if the trial in Cass County had gone differently?”
Kofoed: “I miss forensic work and I believe I would have remained at DCSO if the second trial had gone differently but my role would have changed to almost purely administrative. Maybe I would have become a writer. I had been published and was working on a text book. I was already teaching and enjoyed it greatly. Maybe that would have been my eventual calling.”