Joseph Jernigan and The Visible Human Murder | True Crime Shorts

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In an unusual ending for a murderer, Joseph Jernigan would end up having his body donated to science, where he became known as the Visible Human.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

In Navarro County, Texas, on July 3rd, 1981, 75-year-old Edward Hale was shot and stabbed to death during a robbery.

Joseph Paul Jernigan and Roy Lamb had broken into Hale’s home with the intention of robbing it. Hale returned home during the robbery and caught them both carrying a microwave.

Jernigan and Lamb left the house immediately, but Jernigan decided to return and kill Hale. He stabbed him with a kitchen knife first and then shot him multiple times in the chest and neck.

Both men were arrested a few days later. Lamb received a 30-year- prison sentence for robbery and was paroled in 1991.

Jernigan was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection on August 5th 1993.

Cryosection of Jernigan’s head. Credit: National Library of Medicine.

But it was only one ending for the violent criminal, as a new beginning awaited.

After the execution, Jernigan’s body was donated to science where he became known as The Visible Human.

His corpse was frozen and sliced into thousands of cross sections, photographed, and then made available on the burgeoning internet of the day.

Jernigan had given his consent after a prison chaplain convinced him it was the right thing to do.

By studying the data from the cross-sections, researchers from Columbia University discovered various errors which were considered standard in anatomy textbooks.

They found that a muscle near the pelvic region was a slightly different shape, and the location of the bladder and prostate varied when compared to textbooks.

Jernigan, as The Visible Human, did more for humanity in death, than he did in life.

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