Top 10 Crime Stories of 2011
The Long Island Serial Killer investigation began last December when ten bodies were found along a Long Island barrier beach during a search for Shannon Gilbert, a New Jersey prostitute who had been missing for about seven months. Police were looking for her there because she had called the police from the area. Gilbert’s body was found just yesterday but has not yet been linked to the killer. The search for the Long Island Serial Killer continues.
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was nearly killed on Jan. 8, 2011, outside a Tucson, Arizona supermarket where she was meeting with constituents. Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at the rally. Six people were killed. Twelve others were wounded in the shooting spree.
Despite a massive legal and public relations campaign to stop his execution, Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis was executed 22 years after being convicted for the shooting of Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Davis was executed after winning a rare ruling from the Supreme Court to have his claim of innocent heard by a federal judge.
John Floyd Thomas Jr., 74, who Los Angeles police cold case detectives said was the notorious “Westside Rapist,” pleaded guilty to the murders that took place in two waves, the first in Inglewood, Lennox and Los Angeles in the mid-1970s and the other in the Claremont-Pomona area a decade later. Described by the LAPD as one of the region’s most prolific killers, Thomas may be responsible for as many as 30 slayings and about two dozen sexual assaults.
On July 24, 2007, the quiet Connecticut town of Cheshire was shocked by a brutal home invasion that left a house in flames, a wife and her two daughters dead and a bloody and battered father in the hospital. IN 2010, Steven Hayes received the death penalty on six counts in connection with the deaths. Last October, almost a year after his codefendant was sentenced to death, Joshua Komisarjevsky was found guilty of capital murder, kidnapping and sexual assault among other charges.
James “Whitey” Bulger left Boston 16 years ago in the dark of night, a brash high-echelon FBI snitch one step ahead of a racketeering indictment. Now 81 years old, the former gangster faces multiple charges related to alleged criminal enterprises that spanned two decades. He has been charged with 19 counts of murder and a slew of other crimes.
The trial of Conrad Murray ended in November when the former personal physician of Michael Jackson was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson died at his Los Angeles home on June 25, 2009. No one was surprised by the verdict.
One of the year’s most riveting trials took place in Orlando, Fla., nearly three years after the nation focused their attention on the search for Caylee Anthony. The 2-year-old mysteriously vanished during the summer of 2008 and her mother, Casey Anthony, was named the primary suspect in the case.On July 5, the jury found Anthony not guilty of killing her daughter, shocking the nation.
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who is accused of sexually abusing boys will face trial next year. The former coach faces more than 50 counts related to allegations of sexual molestation revealed in a grand jury report last month. He is accused of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, among other charges.
Osama bin Laden, the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, responsible for the September 11 attacks and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets, was killed inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011. After being placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, bin Laden remained in hiding during three U.S. presidential administrations before US Navy Seals and CIA Operatives found him.