Faculty and Staff

Dr. Lerah Sutton, Program Director and Instructor

Dr. Lerah Sutton

Dr. Lerah Sutton is the Director of the Forensic Medicine Program at the University of Florida College of Medicine and the Assistant Director of the Maples Center for Forensic Medicine.  She is an award-winning educator, teaching both academic and continuing education courses to graduate-level academic students, law enforcement, medicolegal death investigators, and forensic science professionals.  Dr. Sutton is a Medicolegal Death Investigator and the Deputy Commander within the Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System (FEMORS).  She serves on the NASA Chief Health and Medical Officer’s Advisory Panel on Forensics and is a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Academy of Forensic Science, the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners, the International Forensic Medicine Association, and the Council of Forensic Science Educators.  She actively consults for over 100 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, medical examiners, and coroners’ offices on both active and cold cases related to forensic taphonomy, human decomposition, clandestine gravesite detection and excavation, comparative osteology, and estimation of the postmortem interval. 

Katie Beck, MS, Instructor

Katie Beck is the Forensics Manager for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, a position she obtained in 2019 after having spent 9 years working as a Crime Scene Investigator within the Forensics Unit. Prior to her work within the Forensics Unit, she worked within the Records Department at the Sheriff’s Office which helped to provide a well-rounded foundation for her understanding of the inner-workings of law enforcement as it relates to forensic science and crime scene investigation. Katie holds two degrees from the University of Florida – a Bachelor’s in Anthropology and a Master’s in Forensic Science. She has been certified by the International Association for Identification for over a decade, first as a Crime Scene Investigator and currently as a Crime Scene Analyst – the latter representing a higher level of professional distinction. While Katie’s research interests are primarily focused on forensic anthropology and the intersection of genetic analysis and forensic genealogy, she enjoys applying her knowledge and expertise on all areas of crime scene investigation into teaching and mentoring both academic students and crime scene investigators, helping to shape their careers from her own experiences.

Dr. Adrienne Brundage, Instructor

Dr. Adrienne Brundage

Dr. Brundage is a forensic entomologist currently residing in Texas. She received her PhD in entomology from Texas A&M University, and has worked as a forensic entomologist in both California and Texas since 1999. In addition to case work, Dr. Brundage works as a professor of entomology, and has taught various entomological and forensic courses at San Jose State University, Texas A&M University, and Baylor University. She is also a prolific public speaker, giving talks and leading training seminars for all ages in forensic entomology across the country. Her current research involves the colonization of human remains by Dipteran species, and the interactions among larvae and bacteria.

Dr. Stephen DeLeonardis, Instructor

Dr. DeLeonardis is a Clinical Forensic Psychologist currently residing in Texas. He received his PsyD in Clinical Forensic Psychology from Alliant International University (California School of Forensic Sciences) in 2017. Dr. DeLeonardis has worked in mental health hospitals providing group therapy for individuals under a 5150 or conserved by the state. Dr. DeLeonardis has worked with outpatient conditional release program (ConRep) where mentally disordered offenders are placed back into society with therapeutic services (required condition of release).  From Sep 2019 until May 2021 Dr. DeLeonardis worked for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, where he created and ran a weekly Veterans group and provided therapy for Inmates at all levels of incarnation. Currently he works in the Texas Criminal Justice System providing mental health services to incarnated individuals awaiting their parole date.

Christopher LeCates, MS, Instructor

Christopher LeCates

Instructor Christopher LeCates is currently a Detective with the Volusia Sheriff’s Office and has 20 years of experience. The past 10 years he was assigned in the traffic unit which includes the Traffic Homicide Unit, conducting and following up on several fatal crashes. Christopher has extensive training from advanced schools relating to Traffic Homicide Courses culminating in over 400+ hours of additional training specific to traffic homicide investigations. Christopher is 1 of only 3 people within his agency who is able to obtain and analyze vehicle downloads after fatal collisions. Prior to the traffic unit and becoming a detective, Christopher has been assigned to patrol, courthouse functions, and has served the agency as part of the Honor Guard Unit. Christopher has obtained instructor certifications in general instructor techniques, motorcycle instructor, and firearms instructor. The Volusia Sheriff’s Office has recently opened a Police Training Academy of which Christopher is going to be instructing at and is recognized as a CJSTC instructor through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Christopher obtained his Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida.

Dr. James W. Fulcher, Instructor

Dr. James Fulcher

Dr. James Fulcher currently serves as the Chief medical examiner of Florida District 7, Volusia County, FL. He has held this position for two years and previously worked as the Chief Deputy Medical Examiner of Greenville County, SC for the prior 10 years. Dr. Fulcher received a B.A. in biology at the University of Virginia and attended medical school at the Medical College of Virginia, now the VCU School of Medicine. He completed his residency partially at the Medical College of Georgia and partially at the Medical College of Virginia. Dr. Fulcher was a forensic pathology fellowship at The Office of The Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia in Richmond, VA from 2008-2009.

Dr. Fulcher is board-certified in anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, and forensic pathology and has performed approximately 3,500 autopsies during his training and career. He serves on the board of directors for multiple medical education societies, have published numerous scientific articles, reviews for multiple journals, and lectured to various agencies across many states. He has testified in over 100 trials to include medical malpractice consultation work.

During his time in South Carolina, Dr. Fulcher was appointed to the faculty of the Medical College of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville Campus as an associate professor of pathology. Dr. Fulcher responsible for directing multiple modules including gastrointestinal/hepatic and dermatology/rheumatology. During this time, He served on multiple committees at the medical school, including the admissions committee and curriculum committee.

Dr. Maranda Kles, Instructor

Dr. Maranda Kles

Dr. Maranda Kles is a practicing forensic anthropologist with over 15 years of experience. She has worked as a Death Investigator with a Medical Examiner’s Office in Florida and has consulted as a Forensic Anthropologist in Florida and Louisiana. She was an professor of anthropology in Louisiana for 5 years and is currently working in the private sector as a forensic anthropologist and bioarchaeologist. In addition to the identification and analysis of human skeletal remains, she also works in the field of veterinary forensic medicine identifying non-human skeletal remains and assisting in trauma analysis.

Joshua Mott, MS, Instructor

Photo of Joshua Mott

Joshua has served as a sheriff’s deputy in Florida for the past 20 years, having accumulated a substantive amount of experience within the medicolegal death investigation arena.  This has been more enriched because the majority of his career has been spent working as a crime scene investigator full time.  He has responded to thousands of crime scenes and death scene investigations during his career and testified in over sixty criminal trials, including dozens of homicide cases.  Currently, he is the Forensic Services Manager, supervising the Crime Scene Unit as well as the Latent Print Unit.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida, and a master’s degree in Forensic Medicine from the University of Florida.  He is also certified as a Senior Crime Scene Analyst through the International Association for Identification, and regularly teaches in-service training on crime scene topics to local law enforcement personnel as well as to law enforcement academy recruits.

Dr. Sharon Plotkin, Instructor

Dr. Sharon Plotkin

Dr. Sharon L. Plotkin is a native Floridian. She obtained her Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology from Florida International University, her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work, also from Florida International University and an Associate of Arts degree in Psychology from Broward Community College. Currently, she is currently seeking a doctoral degree in education.

Dr. Plotkin received her certification in crime scene investigations through International Association for Identification in 2006 and has been doing crime scene work for almost 20 years. She has handled thousands of cases ranging from burglaries to homicides and suspicious death cases.

Dr. Plotkin has received specialized training in various fields of crime scene investigations, including, bloodstain reconstruction, photography, crime scene reconstruction, fingerprinting, shoe wear casting and other various topics. She has traveled throughout the United States and Taiwan attending crime scene conferences taught by experts such as Dr. Henry Lee, Dr. Michael Baden, Dr. Vincent DiMaio, Vernon Geberth, Dr. Bill Bass, Paul Kish, Richard Saferstein and other highly notable crime scene experts.

Dr. Plotkin taught courses for Dr. Henry Lee as well as throughout Florida, the United States and in the Cayman Islands and China. She has been a lecturer at several mystery writers conferences all over the country assisting them “to keep it real.” Sharon published a crime scene reconstruction textbook with author Robert Ogle Jr. and is currently working on a second textbook. She is also a member of DMORT (Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team) and FEMORS (Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System response.

Dr. Plotkin has utilized her resources in law enforcement by hosting several important programs and summits with her colleagues in disseminating critical issues that impact students and the community in areas of distracted driving, wrongful convictions courtroom testimony and gun violence.

Dr. Gabriele Suboch, Instructor

Dr. Gabrielle Suboch

Dr. Gabriele Suboch retired as a crime scene specialist with 25 years of experience in crime scene investigation and bloodstain pattern analysis. She worked for 15 ½ years with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and as an auxiliary Deputy with Hendry County Sheriff’s Office for 9 ½ years and consulted with cold cases work in Louisiana, Alabama and death investigations and appellate cases in court in Florida. She holds a PhD from Northcentral University. She is a certified bloodstain pattern analyst certified by the International Association of Identification. She also was a founding member of OSAC, bloodstain pattern analysis committee, for 5 years. She has been teaching online for over 20 years at different state universities.

Dr. Suzanne Utley, Instructor

Dr. Suzanne Utley

Dr. Suzanne Utley is a board-certified forensic pathologist or medical examiner. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and a Master’s degree in Medical Microbiology. She graduated from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA in 1995. In 2001 she completed a 5 year residency in Anatomical and Clinical Pathology at the University of South Florida, Department of Pathology, and a 1 year fellowship in Forensic Pathology with the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office in Tampa, FL. She is board certified in Anatomical, Clinical, and Forensic Pathology. Over the next few years she worked as a Medical Examiner in both medical examiner and coroner offices in Colorado and Georgia before coming to the District 12 Medical Examiner Office in Sarasota, FL in 2006. She has completed nearly 5,000 autopsies and has testified in depositions and courtrooms numerous times regarding her cases.
Dr. Utley is a member of both the National Association of Medical Examiners and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Medical Examiners and serves as the Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee on Mass Disaster Management – Interagency Interactions in Mass Fatality Incidents. Mass disaster response has always been an area of interest and she joined the federal Disaster Mortuary Operation Response Team (DMORT) region 4 in 1993 following the bombing of the World Trade Center. She serves as the Forensic Pathology Section Leader for Region 4. She responded with the team for the Mississippi response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and for the Texas/Louisiana response to Hurricane Ike in 2008. She responded following the Joplin, Missouri tornado in 2011. After moving back to Florida, she became a member of the Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System (FEMORS) in 2006.
Outside of her professional life, her personal interests include her family which is comprised of her husband and 4 furry kids (2 dogs, 2 cats), competitive ballroom dancing, tennis, and taking cruises when time permits.