Friday, January 27, 2012

Joseph Paul Jernigan

Joseph Paul Jernigan (January 31, 1954 – August 5, 1993) was a Texas murderer who was killed by lethal injection at 12:31 a.m, August 5, 1993.

In 1981, Jernigan was sentenced to death for stabbing and shooting 75-year-old Edward Hale, who discovered him stealing a microwave oven. Jernigan spent 12 years in prison before his final plea for clemency was denied. At the prompting of a prison chaplain, he agreed to donate his body for scientific research or medical use.

After execution, Jernigan's corpse was encased and frozen in a gelatin and water mixture in order to stabilize the specimen for cutting. The specimen was then “cut” in the axial plane at 1 millimeter intervals. Each of the resulting 1,871 “slices” were photographed in both analog and digital, yielding 15 gigabytes of data. In 2000, the photos were rescanned at a higher resolution, yielding more than 65 gigabytes.

The data is supplemented by axial sections of the whole body obtained by computed tomography, axial sections of the head and neck obtained by magnetic resonance imaging, and coronal sections of the rest of the body also obtained by magnetic resonance imaging.

The scanning, slicing and photographing took place at the University of Colorado's Health Sciences Center, where additional cutting of anatomical specimens continues to take place.

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