Unresolved cases, or cold cases, have become a significant theme in pop culture, as people consume podcasts, TV shows, and social media accounts that seek to solve sometimes decades-old crimes and missing person cases.

On April 7 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Armory on Russell Sage College’s Albany campus, retired New York State Police Investigator Thomas Aiken will take the audience through a reopened cold case that led to a conviction in 1995.

The talk, “The David Pope Case: A Journey from Cold Case to Conviction,” is free and open to the public, although online preregistration is requested. The event has been organized by the Criminal Investigation Resource Center (CIRC) at Russell Sage College, one of only two such centers in the state where students partner with law enforcement on real unresolved cases. 

The talk focuses on the homicide case of Howard White, a 2-year-old from Granville, New York, who died in 1972. After the boy’s mother and family members came forward with additional information, now-retired New York State Police Investigator Thomas Aiken was asked to reopen the case in 1994.

David J. Pope Sr. – Howard White’s stepfather – had beaten and starved White throughout his young life and dodged conviction for 22 years, continuing to abuse another stepson and five of his biological children.

In May 1995, Pope was found guilty of second-degree murder in the boy’s death. According to media reports, it took a Washington County jury only two hours of deliberation to arrive at a conviction. 

In October 2012, Pope died of natural causes in the Sing Sing Correctional Facility where the 67-year-old was serving his 25 years to life sentence.

Aiken will take the audience through all that led to Pope’s conviction, including the grand jury presentation, trial details, case photos, and audio of 911 calls. Audience members should be aware that the talk will contain audio and images that some may find disturbing.

Aiken served 30 years with the New York State Police, retiring as a senior investigator. In 2022, he published a book about the case with his wife, Connie, called Now They Lay Me Down to Rest.


“The David Pope Case: A Journey from Cold Case to Conviction”

When: Sunday, April 7, 2024, 1 to 5 p.m.

Where: The Armory, Russell Sage College, 130 New Scotland Avenue, Albany

Admission: The event is free, but online pre-registration is requested.

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