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Tribune, WGN Feature Smith’s Book About His Sister’s Murder, Justice Rick Kogan interviewed Alum, Written Communications Director Joanne Koch

Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Kogan has written a column about NLU alum Robert Emmett Smith’s journey from wrestling emotionally with the fact his sister had been murdered, a long dormant period when the murder remained unsolved and the turmoil of the killer’s trial.

In “New book details South Side family’s story of murder, heartache and– eventually–justice,” Kogan also included the key role played by Joanne Koch, Ph.D., during Smith’s time in the Master of Science in Written Communication program, which she directs.

Kogan also interviewed Smith on WGN Radio during his “After Hours with Rick Kogan” show on Sunday evenings.

Robert E. Smith enrolled in the M.S. in Written Communication program when his sister Mary H. Smith’s 1989 murder was still a cold case. He wanted to write about it, and the timing came together serendipitously.  While he was in the program, the killer was identified and brought to trial.

NLU alum Robert E. Smith wrote a book about how his sister’s killer was brought to justice.

Smith wrote about the dramatic events in the 2013 edition of Mosaic, the  MSWC program’s literary journal, and Koch encouraged him to expand it into his master’s thesis.

That thesis became Smith’s book, “Justice Delayed, Not Justice Denied: How the Chicago Murder of My Sister Mary H. Smith Was Finally Solved After 23 Years.”

Read more in Rick Kogan’s Chicago Tribune column. 

View Robert E. Smith’s book on

Listen to the WGN Radio “After Hours With Rick Kogan” interview.