Aaron Hernandez [GUILTY] – Aaron Hernandez, the former star NFL tight end for the New England Patriots, is accused of shooting and killing his one-time friend Odin Lloyd in the early morning hours of June 17 in an industrial park in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. The murder investigation has brought to light a lengthy and troubling history of guns, gangs, and violence for the sports star from Bristol, Connecticut, which is also the home of ESPN. Hernandez was arrested along with two other men in connection with Lloyd’s death and he faces first-degree murder charges.
Albrecht Muth [GUILTY] – Elderly, fashionable Washington D.C. socialite Viola Drath was found dead inside her upscale Georgetown row house. Her husband — an eccentric German-born man, forty years younger than she — has been accused of her murder. The case has only grown more bizarre as Albrecht Muth, the husband, has fired his lawyers, suggested the killing was an Iranian hit, and demanded the right to wear a military uniform in court.
Alexis Wright “Maine Zumba Madam” [GUILTY] – 29-year-old single mom and Zumba teacher by day, alleged madam by night, ran an organized prostitution ring in the upscale resort town of Kennebunkport, Maine, according to authorities. Alexis Wright allegedly kept detailed records, including video recordings of the encounters that took place in the one-room “shag pad” she rented above a flower shop, across from her Zumba fitness studio. Now Maine authorities are releasing the names in her little black book, plunging the New England town into scandal.
Amanda Knox [EXONERATED] – Amanda Knox was tried and convicted for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, who died from knife wounds in the apartment she shared with Knox in 2007. Knox and her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were both found guilty of killing Kercher, receiving 26- and 25-year prison sentences, respectively. In October 2011, Knox and Sollecito were acquitted and set free. In March 2013, Knox was ordered to stand trial again for Kercher’s murder; Italy’s final court of appeal, the Court of Cassation, overturned both Knox’s and Sollecito’s acquittals. Knox and Sollecito were again found guilty of murder in February 2014, with Sollecito receiving a 25-year prison sentence and Knox receiving a 28.5-year sentence. The Supreme Court of Italy overturned her and Sollecito’s convictions in 2015.
Amish Beard Cutting Case [CONVICTED] – 12 members of an Amish minority sect were charged with hate crimes for allegedly disbearding rogue members of their sect. In the Amish religion, a man’s beard and hair are sacred. It was further alleged that Amish ring leader, Samuel Mullet (yes, that’s his name, and he was accused of cutting off hair — the irony, right?) was also accused of “counseling married women in his sect and cleansing them with sexual intercourse.” After four and a half days of deliberations the jury found all 16 Amish defendants guilty of federal hate crimes and found that the leader, Bishop Samuel Mullet, organized the beard-trimming and hair-cutting attacks.
Anna Gristina “Soccer Mom Madame” [GUILTY] – Prosecutors are alleging that Anna Gristina was a suburban mother of four by day, Upper East Side Madam by night. Dubbed the “Soccer Mom Madam” by tabloids, Gristina has said that she was running a legitimate dating service, and there was no hint of prostitution. The colorful Gristina has been in and out of the newspapers as her case wends its way to trial, changing her legal team numerous times.
Andrea Sneiderman [CONVICTED] – Rusty Sneiderman was shot and killed outside a Dunwoody daycare in Nov. 2010. Despite her vehement denial of any involvement in Sneiderman’s death, his wife Andrea then stood charged with his murder, as well as numerous charges of perjury and giving false statements to law enforcement. DeKalb County, Georgia prosecutors allege that she arranged for her boss — with whom she may have been having an affair — to gun down her husband outside of their son’s preschool in Dunwoody, Georgia.
Ariel Castro “Cleveland Kidnappings Case” [GUILTY] – After a more than a decade, missing teens Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were discovered in a neglected house in Cleveland, Ohio. Berry broke out the house and called for help, leading to the rescue of the women and one young girl. Prosecutors have charged their alleged captor with multiple counts of kidnapping, rape and aggravated homicide and are exploring a possible death sentence.
Austin Sigg “Jessica Ridgeway Murder” [GUILTY] – A 17-year-old fascinated with crime scene forensics and mortuary science has been arrested and charged with the kidnapping and killing of a ten-year-old girl who was last seen walking to school. After a week-long pursuit of a suspect in the case that was haunting parents in suburban Denver, Colorado, Austin Reed Sigg turned himself in to the police.
Clark Rockefeller [CONVICTED] – After years of posing as a member of the wealthy Rockefeller family, Christian Gerhartsreiter, or “Clark Rockefeller,” as he was known to friends, colleagues and even his ex-wife and child, has been charged in a Los Angeles court with the 1985 murder of his former landlord’s son. The victim’s skull was unearthed from the cement lining of a swimming pool in a ritzy southern California suburb. To make matters worse, Clark is currently serving four years in Massachusetts for kidnapping his own daughter, but that sentence won’t stand in the way of the California prosecution.
Clayton Whittemore [GUILTY] – In the early morning hours of September 29, 2012, campus police found Alexandra Kogut dead in her dorm room, the victim of blunt force trauma. Her boyfriend, 21-year-old hockey star Clayton Whittemore, was charged with second degree murder after allegedly beating her to death after a series of “silly arguments.” The belligerent beau allegedly admitted to killing her according to the criminal felony complaint but later pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Sweden Town Court. Slowly, Whittemore’s violent history has come to light, and Kogut responded with one last eerie tweet before her death, “I should have known.”
Donald Sterling Probate Trial [LOSS] – With the potentially record-breaking $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers hanging in the balance, the Sterling trial will focus on whether Donald Sterling’s estranged wife had the authority under terms of a family trust to unilaterally negotiate the deal. Donald Sterling is also suing the NBA for $1 billion in federal court and alleges the league violated his constitutional rights, committed breach of contract and violated antitrust laws. He has hired four private investigations firms to dig up dirt on the NBA’s former and current commissioners and its owners, according to a person familiar with Donald Sterling’s legal strategy.
Drew Peterson [GUILTY] – The former police sergeant accused of killing his third wife awaits trial in Joliet, Illinois. After the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, wife number four, the body of Kathleen Savio, Peterson’s third wife was exhumed for a new autopsy. The coroner found that Savio died of drowning following a struggle — a homicide staged to look like an accident. After a lengthy delay while the Illinois appellate court reviewed some evidentiary questions, the case went to trial. On September 6, 2012, after 5 weeks of trial and 2 days of deliberations, the jury found Drew Peterson GUILTY in the murder of Kathleen Savio.
Eddie Ray Routh “American Sniper Trial” [GUILTY] – In a case where movie magic collides with the harsh realities veterans face when they return from war zones, a Texas veteran stands accused of murdering the “American Sniper” depicted in the hit film and New York Times bestselling memoir. Eddie Ray Routh is charged with the homicide of Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL who inspired the Oscar-nominated film, and Chad Littlefield, at a shooting range in rural Texas.
Elizabeth Johnson “Baby Gabriel” [CONVICTED] – The disappearance of seven-month-old Baby Gabriel horrified the community of Tempe, Arizona. Even more shocking was the unsettling response from Baby Gabriel’s mother, Elizabeth Johnson, who allegedly took the child to San Antonio, Texas to be adopted before he disappeared. According to the prosecution, Baby Gabriel’s mom admits to suffocating Gabriel until he turned blue, stuffing him into a baby bag, and throwing him into the dumpster. Counsel for Ms. Johnson claimed that she is incompetent to stand trial, but the judge disagreed. The trial lasted eight days with six days of testimony, including 29 witnesses called by the prosecution and no witnesses called by the defense. On October 18, after less than two days of deliberations, the jury convicted Elizabeth Johnson of unlawful imprisonment, custodial interference, and conspiracy to commit custodial interference. They were unable to reach a verdict on kidnapping, the most serious of the charges against her.
George Zimmerman “Trayvon Martin Killing” [ACQUITTED] – When an unarmed Florida teen was gunned down by a volunteer neighborhood watchguard without an arrest, millions of social activists took to the streets demanding justice for Trayvon Martin. Nearly a month after the murder, George Zimmerman was arrested and charged with the murder of the boy. As both sides prepare for trial and new evidence comes out every day, will the deciding factor in the case ultimately be Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law? Trial is currently set for June 10, 2013.
Gilberto Valle “Cannibal Cop Case” [CONVICTED] – A New York City police officer was convicted in March 2013 for an alleged plot to kidnap, torture, cook and eat women. According to authorities he used the police database to collect information on his potential victims and planned his attack with co-conspirators online. Although no one was actually harmed, the FBI turned the case over to the United States Attorney to prosecute based on a “great deal of intent,” according to FBI sources. However, in July 2014 a federal judge acquitted Valle of the conspiracy and kidnapping charges, the most serious offenses, finding that there was insufficient evidence to uphold the convictions. Valle had served more than the maximum one-year sentence for the other charge of illegally accessing a law enforcement database. The former NYPD officer faced a potential life sentence and has now been released from custody.
James Holmes “Colorado Movie Theater Massacre” [GUILTY] – 12 are dead, including a 6-year-old girl, and 70 wounded, in a mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. The admitted shooter, James Holmes, was arrested in a parking lot outside the theater and is now in custody. Eyewitnesses said that Holmes carried four firearms and wore a gas mask as he opened fire on the crowded movie theater. He is charged with 24 counts of murder and 140 counts of attempted murder – two counts for each person killed and two for each person injured. He’s also charged with possession of explosives and committing a crime of violence. He has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity and a jury will now decide whether or not he was sane at the time of the shooting.
James “Whitey” Bulger [CONVICTED] – On the lam from federal law enforcement for 16 years, James “Whitey” Bulger is finally facing charges from his years of organized crime in Boston. Whitey is accused of no less than 19 counts of homicide, masterminding numerous conspiracies, money laundering, and extortion to boot. In one of the alleged murders, a man was shot so many times his torso was nearly severed from his legs. The 82-year-old Bulger has led a fascinating life of crime, including serving time on Alcatraz from 1959-1962 for robbery and hijacking.
Jared Loughner [GUILTY] – Jared Loughner’s terrifying booking photo is imprinted on all of our minds here at Wild About Trial — the wide, wild eyes, the eerie grin, and the glowing skull. His crime is the most notorious of 2011 — the shooting rampage that left six dead and 14 wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head. While everybody has cheered on Representative Giffords’ remarkable recovery and mourned the loss of so many dedicated Americans, Loughner has languished in a federal prison medical facility in Springfield, Missouri, awaiting a trial that may never come. Loughner was found incompetent to stand trial in May of 2011, and only recently restored to competency. The federal district court took his guilty plea in exchange for life in prison.
Jerry Sandusky [CONVICTED] – The allegations that Jerry Sandusky, a former football coach for the Penn State University team, sexually assaulted young boys under the indifferent eye of the Penn State football program captured the nation’s attention. The defense rested their case after a mere two and a half days of witnesses, as compared to the week of testimony from the prosecution. Most of those witnesses testified as to Sandusky’s good character and selfless nature; however, some attempted to undermine the credibility of key prosecution witnesses like Mike McQueary.
Jodi Arias [CONVICTED] – An Arizona woman was found guilty of murdering her ex-boyfriend in a jealous rage. A jury of eight men and four women convicted Jodi Arias, 32, of first-degree murder on May 8, 2013 after a trial that lasted more than four months and became a media sensation capturing national headlines. However, the same jury was not able to reach a unanimous decision on whether the scorned lover turner killer should be put to death or receive life in prison. Prosecutors have stated they will continue to seek the death penalty and a second sentencing hearing, in front of a new jury, is likely to take place in late 2013 or early 2014. The next hearing is scheduled for September 16. If Arias receives the death penalty, it would earn her the dubious distinction as the fourth woman on Arizona’s death row.
John Edwards [CASE DISMISSED] – After Nine days of deliberations, the jury could not come to a consensus in former presidential candidate John Edwards’ campaign finance fraud case. While federal prosecutors insisted that using unreported campaign funds to cover up an illicit affair was illegal, the jury could not agree. They acquitted Edwards on one count, and United States District Court Judge Catherine Eagles dismissed the remaining five charges.
Jonathan Holt “Barista Murder” [GUILTY] – Whitney Heichel, 21, is the cute Pacific Northwest barista who mysteriously went missing on her way to work. Tragically, her body was found in the woods an hour from her home. Her neighbor, and fellow Jehovah’s Witness, Jonathan Daniel Holt, decided to voluntarily talk to investigators, but when his story didn’t add up, he became the lead suspect. His DNA was reportedly found in Heichel’s car and on her body, and police say he made a full confession. In his shocking story he said that he waited outside of her apartment in the morning, asked for a ride, then pulled a gun on her and made her drive to a secluded area where he raped her and then shot her four times. Holt was charged with seven counts, including aggravated murder with a firearm, kidnapping, robbery and sodomy.
Jordan Graham “Glacier Park Murder” [GUILTY] – Jordan Graham, a Montana newlywed who reportedly got cold feet after her dream wedding, is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly pushing her husband, Cody Johnson, off a cliff in Glacier National Park and then lying to authorities about his disappearance. She initially told federal investigators that her new husband sent her a text saying he was going for a drive with a friend from out of town, and when she returned home, she saw him leave their house in a dark colored car. Several days later she reportedly confessed that she lied about her story and that Johnson had grabbed her arm during a heated argument, after which, in her anger, she shoved him in the back and off the cliff.
Justin Ross Harris “Hot Car Death” [GUILTY] – Justin Ross Harris, the father of a toddler who died after police say he was left in a hot car for about seven hours, weeps as he sits at his bond hearing in Cobb County Magistrate Court, in Marietta, Ga. On Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, a Cobb County grand jury indicted Harris on multiple charges, including malice murder, felony murder and cruelty to children. The malice murder charge indicates that prosecutors believe that Harris intentionally left his son Cooper in the hot car to die.
Kelly Thomas Beatings [ACQUITTED] – Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless man in Fullerton, CA, died after a brutal beating from six police officers. The altercation was caught on a nearby surveillance camera, and after significant public pressure three of the officers are charged with murder and manslaughter in Thomas’ death. The case has brought the Fullerton Police Department under intense national scrutiny and led to the early retirement of Fullerton’s Police Chief. Manuel Ramos, 39, charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter and ex-Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, 41, charged with involuntary manslaughter and the use excessive force, will face trial together. A third Officer, Joseph Wolfe, 36, is also charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force, but he will be tried separately since he was not charged until more than a year after the other officers.
Levi Aron [GUILTY] – The gruesome murder and dismemberment of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky has shattered Brooklyn’s traditionally Hasidic community. Orthodox Jew Levi Aron, known as a shy, withdrawn loner, confessed to killing the boy. This case is a parent’s worst nightmare. Leiby is believed to have gotten lost while walking home the seven blocks from day camp for the first time alone. What allegedly happened next is too disturbing to detail. Levi Aron was charged with the boy’s murder almost immediately.
Luka Magnotta “Canadian Cannibal Case” [GUILTY] – A Vancouver elementary school received a severed hand in the mail. On the same day in late May, 2012, a bloodied human foot was delivered to a middle school in Vancouver. A similar parcel was discovered at the Canadian Parliament Building, and law enforcement found still more en route to other government buildings. A “Red Notice,” Interpol’s version of an arrest warrant, was issued for male escort and wannabe gay porn actor Luka “Rocco” Magnotta, based on a disturbing video that seemed to show him killing, dismembering and performing necrophiliac acts. An international manhunt led to an internet café in Germany, where Berlin Police arrested Magnotta. He was extradited to Canada as the primary suspect in the body parts mailing case.
Marissa DeVault [GUILTY] – The murder of Dale Harrell occurred in January 2009 by his wife Marissa-Suzanne “Reese” DeVault (born November 6, 1977). Her trial made national and global headlines. The case was noted as being very similar to that of Jodi Arias, with whom DeVault was in contact and whose murder trial occurred in the same courthouse one year earlier. Even though she faced the death penalty for her crime, DeVault was sentenced to life in prison. She is imprisoned within the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Martin MacNeill [CONVICTED] – After an investigation that spanned the country and even went as far as Ukraine, Utah County prosecutors charged Martin MacNeill, a noted local physician, in the murder of his wife, Michele. MacNeill allegedly killed his wife via an overdose of prescription medications following a facelift. In the days and weeks after her death, MacNeill shocked his adult children by introducing his younger mistress as the new nanny and sending one of the couple’s adopted daughters back to Ukraine. The adult children, along with their mother’s sister, began their own investigation into their mother’s death, uncovering what they call MacNeill’s “web of lies” that spanned his entire life.
Michael Dunn [GUILTY] – A 45-year-old white software developer in Florida is accused of opening fire on four African American teenagers in an SUV at a Jacksonville gas station because they were playing their rap music too loud, killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Michael Dunn is charged with first-degree murder in a case reminiscent of the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin murder trial in 2013.
Nehemiah Griego “New Mexico Family Killings” [GUILTY] – The son of a New Mexico pastor allegedly shot and killed his parents and younger siblings in a horrific rampage. Authorities say 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego reloaded his assault rifles and stocked the family van with ammunition, planning to continue the shooting spree at a local Wal-Mart. Instead, he wound up at the family’s church, where he reported the killings to his pastor. Authorities were alerted, and he allegedly confessed.
Pedro Hernandez “Etan Patz The Face On The Milk Carton” [CONVICTED] – Over 30 years since Etan Patz, a six-year-old Manhattan child, went missing, a man confesses to his abduction and murder. Etan Patz’s disappearance sparked national bedlam about missing children and led to that iconic symbol of the 1980’s: the face on the milk carton. Now Pedro Hernandez, a 51-year-old mentally ill man, says he lured the child into his convenience store with the promise of a soda before strangling the child and disposing of his body.
Robert Rizzo “Bell 8 Scandal” [GUILTY] – Looking just like the ultimate “Fat Cat” politician, Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo, is charged in a Los Angeles courthouse with siphoning off more than $6.7 million dollars from the small, blue-collar city of Bell, California. Bell is a tiny, poor city located within Los Angeles county. In 2.5 square miles, one in six of its 38,000 residents live below the poverty line. The per capita income is a mere $24,800, and roughly 90% of its residents are Hispanic or Latino. Rizzo and his fellows allegedly made a killing off of this community.
Sarah Jones “Bengals Cheeleader Case” [GUILTY] – A former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and teacher who pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a teen boy, is now engaged to him, her former student. Sarah Jones, 26, plead guilty in October 2012 to sex abuse as a result of her relationship with Cody York, who was 17 when the couple started having sex. On Thursday the couple posted photos on their Facebook pages announcing their engagement. Jones’ attorney Eric Deters confirmed that couple was engaged. Jones pleaded guilty last year for having sex with York when he was 17 years old. Photos on her Facebook page show the pair announcing their engagement.
Sandra Layne “Granny Got Her Gun” [CONVICTED] – “My grandma shot me,” said a Michigan teenager in an emergency 911 call. The boy died from his gunshot wounds, and now his grandmother is facing homicide charges. Lawyers for the 75-year-old Sandra Layne have said she acted in self-defense, following a heated argument over the boy’s drug use. After several days of trial an Oakland County jury convicted Layne on March 19, 2013, of second-degree murder in the killing of her grandson without premeditation.
SF Giants Fan Attack – Bryan Stow, a paramedic and father of two from Santa Cruz, California, was brutally beaten and nearly killed in a post-game attack at Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2011. Witnesses said the Opening Day attack against the Giants fan was totally unprovoked. Stow suffered a fractured skull and was in a coma for months. According to prosecutors, he has suffered serious brain damage, is unable to walk or hold a conversation and may require medical care for the rest of his life. Immediately following the attack, a Los Angeles Police Department manhunt led to the arrest of Giovanni Ramirez, who was never formally charged and was ultimately exonerated. In July 2011 the LAPD arrested Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood. They are charged with various felonies, including mayhem and assault.
Steubenville Rape [GUILTY] – Rising high school football stars Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, and Trent Mays, 17, were tried and convicted of raping an unconscious girl during a party. Photographs and videos shared on social media sites depict the athletes carrying the alleged victim around and other teens laughing and joking about the rape of the “dead girl.”
T.J Lane “Ohio School Shooting” [GUILTY] – In a serene suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, a 17-year-old boy walked into the high school cafeteria early on a Monday morning and opened fire. Three boys were killed, three other children were wounded. Although there was no trial, the sentencing hearing had its share of drama including several outbursts from the convicted teen. Lane wore a T-shirt with “killer” scrawled across it, gave the middle finger to victim’s families, cursed at them, and then told them “The hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons now masturbates to the memory.”
Theodore Paul Wafer “Renisha McBride Murder” [GUILTY] – A Michigan man is convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to at least 17-years in prison for shooting an unarmed African-American teenager on his front porch. Renisha McBride arrived heavily intoxicated on the doorstep of Theodore Paul Wafer, 54, in the early morning of November 2, 2013, several hours after crashing her car. Wafer claimed the young woman was trying to break into his house and the gun discharged accidentally.
Tim Lambesis [GUILTY] – Tim Lambesis, the lead singer of the Christian hard rock band (now ironically named) As I Lay Dying, is charged with hiring a hitman to kill his estranged wife. The rocker allegedly handed a manilla envelope with his wife’s name, photo, security code to her condo complex, description of her vehicle, and $1,000 cash to a would-be hitman who turned out to be an undercover cop. Lambesis was in the midst of a contentious divorce and a self-proclaimed crisis of faith, but Lambesis’ lawyer blames his erratic behavior on excessive steroid use.
Todd Kendhammer [GUILTY] – Prosecutors contend Todd Kendhammer fatally beat his wife of 25 years and tried to conceal her death by staging a freak car accident. Kendhammer says she died when an airborne pipe pierced his windshield and struck her in the head. Kendhammer, 47, of West Salem, faces a first degree intentional homicide charge after an investigation showed he may be lying about how his wife, Barbara, died. He originally told police a metal pipe went through the windshield of his car and hit his wife in September of 2016.
Travis Funke [GUILTY] – Five months after the family of young Indiana mother Kelly Armstrong filed a missing persons report, her boyfriend allegedly confessed to bludgeoning her with a hammer. Travis Funke told investigators that he remembers dreaming about the attack, in which he used the mallet to assault Kelly Armstrong. Later, according to Funke’s statement, he discarded her in the trash.
Yoselyn Ortega “Krim Family Murders” – On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, stately pre-war apartment buildings flank tree-lined streets and nannies push strollers to nearby Central Park while well-to-do parents are at work. Against this background, an unthinkable crime has shocked the nation: two young children were brutally murdered in their own home while their parents were away. Charged with their murder? The children’s nanny.