CLEVELAND — The fascination with true crime is widespread.
Tens of millions tune into shows on streaming services and podcasts each year. One Northeast Ohio man has been at the center of several of these shows because of his unique role in more than 800 investigations.
Scott Roder is an internationally recognized evidence specialist who said the career "found him" about 25 years ago after he first was hired as a consultant for the Cleveland Police Department.
“I was a young father, I had two kids. I had a job at a law firm. I was working at a consulting agency, working with lawyers on how to demonstrate the evidence and I knew I was a visual communicator and as the technology became available and I had opportunities to show how I could use that technology to demonstrate things to a jury, that’s kind of the evolution of it. I didn’t set out and say I wanna do this,” he said.
Soon after, Roder launched "The Evidence Room," doing forensic reconstruction and creating a visual representation of what evidence shows happened at a crime scene.
“I get calls 4, 5, 6 times a day from either people who are wrongfully convicted and in prison, people who are currently standing trial or civil cases either from the plaintiff or the defense standpoint," he said.
Roder spends a significant amount of time gathering evidence and evaluating crime scene photos before creating a storyboard, mapping out what he believes the evidence shows. Roder recreates the crime digitally.
“As long as I stay in that lane and give the jury the benefit to me being there, explaining what happened so that they can figure it out for themselves. At the end of the day, that’s what my job is," Roder said.
It's this work that has lead Roder to be featured in national crime shows and podcasts as the surge of true crime fascination continues.
“I realized OK, people are interested in this stuff for reasons. Maybe not the same reasons that I’m interested in it, right? Maybe they’re not interested in justice or even finding the truth. People are interested in the details of life and death decisions," he said.
Roder is peeling back the curtain on the details of what he does on a podcast of his own, while continuing to take on cases locally in greater Cleveland and all across the world.
“I have an unending inventory of cases that I can talk about on the podcast.”