Just after midnight on July 20, 2012, police say James Holmes, dressed in black and sporting nearly head-to-toe tactical garb, set off some sort of smoke bomb inside Theater 9 of the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Holmes allegedly began shooting at the audience, who was there to see a premiere of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." Twelve people were killed, 58 others injured. Holmes surrendered to police soon after the massacre in the parking lot behind the theater. Holmes is charged with multiple first-degree murder and attempted murder counts.
Credit: AP Photo/RJ Sangosti
Tragedy In Newtown, CT - Sandy Hook Elementary School
Suspected shooter Adam Lanza allegedly shot his mother four times in the face while she was in bed before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where he murdered 20 children and six adults on Dec. 14, 2012. No indication has been made publicly about the motive of the 20-year-old Lanza, who broke into the school and opened fire on students and staff with some of his mother's guns, then killed himself.
Credit: AP Photo/Newtown Bee, Shannon Hicks
Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced on Oct. 9, 2012 to at least 30 years in prison after being convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse for molesting boys over a 15-year period. The scandal surrounding his indictment toppled longtime head coach Joe Paterno and eventually led to severe NCAA sanctions against the football team. Witnesses accused him of violent sexual attacks inside campus facilities, as well as using the charity for troubled children he founded to find and groom boys that become his victims.
Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman Case
On Feb. 26, 2012, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin as the teen was walking back from a convenience store in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman claimed he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense and was released by the police shortly after the incident. The shooting and police decision not to arrest Zimmerman sparked outrage, and set off a nationwide debate over race and justice. On April 11, Zimmerman turned himself in after being charged with second-degree murder. The 29-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the charge and was released from Seminole County Jail on $1 million bond in July. The case is ongoing.
Mark Berndt, a former 61-year-old teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles is accused of committing lewd acts against 23 children ages 6 to 10, from 2005 to 2010. He allegedly photographed blindfolded and bound students with semen-filled spoons held at their mouths and three-inch cockroaches crawling across their faces, among other bizarre images. After Berndt's arrest on Jan. 31, 2012, his colleague, third-grade teacher Martin Springer, 49, was also arrested and charged with three felony counts of committing lewd acts upon a child. Berndt and Springer's arrests prompted the school board to shutter Miramonte for two days, during which it reconstituted the entire staff.
Tyler Clementi/Dharun Ravi Case
In September 2011, just days into his freshman year at Rutgers, Tyler Clementi leaped to his death from the George Washington Bridge. In the wake of his death, it was revealed that his roommate, Dharun Ravi, had used a webcam to spy on Clementi's intimate encounter with a man. Clementi's suicide became a touchstone for those fighting to expose the perils of bullying on young gay men and women. On May 21, 2012, Ravi was convicted of bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and witness tampering and spent 20 days in jail. He is appealing.
Credit: Personal Photo
Rudy Eugene and Ronald Poppo - Florida 'face-chewing'
On May 26, 2012, officers shot and killed 31-year-old Rudy Eugene, who was found apparently chewing on a homeless man
Credit: CBS/Miami-Dade Police Dept.
On Feb. 5, 2012, Josh Powell, the husband of missing Utah mother Susan Powell, used a hatchet to hack his two young sons and then killed himself and the boys by rigging the house to explode. The murder-suicide occurred just days after Powell was denied custody and ordered to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation, and the boys were at the home for what was supposed to be a supervised visit. For the last two years, Powell had been scrutinized in the media, hammered by police and questioned by judges, prosecutors and social workers since the day his wife vanished in 2009. Josh Powell always maintained his innocence and said he had taken their boys, then 2 and 4, on a midnight camping trip in freezing temperatures the night she disappeared. Investigators found a gas can, tarps and a shovel in Josh Powell's vehicle shortly after the investigation began. One of the children told investigators that his mother had gone on the camping trip but did not come home with them.
Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Police say 15-year-old Autumn Pasquale disappeared on Oct. 20 riding her BMX bike in her neighborhood in Clayton, N.J. Autumn was found dead two days later in a recycling bin behind a nearby house. Two brothers, aged 15 and 17 years old, were arrested in her slaying. Pasquale was allegedly lured into a house by the younger brother who told her he wanted to trade bike parts.
Credit: Personal photo
Alaskan Barista Samantha Koenig disappeared on Feb. 1, 2012 from the Anchorage coffee stand where she worked. Surveillance cameras captured the 18-year-old being led away from the coffee shack by a then-unknown man. Two months later Koenig
Credit: Personal Photo
Elzbieta Plackowska, a 40-year-old Chicago-area woman, is accused in the stabbing deaths of her 7-year-old son and a 5-year-old girl she was babysitting on Oct. 30, 2012. Police arrested her after finding the two children, as well as two dogs, dead at Plackowska's Naperville home. Plackowska told investigators that the children had been jumping on the bed at the girl's home in Naperville. She allegedly ordered them to pray, then stabbed them both dozens of times as they begged for their lives. The Polish immigrant allegedly told investigators that she killed her son because she was upset with her husband and was grieving her father. She allegedly said she killed the girl because she was a witness to her son's death.
Credit: AP Photo/DuPage County Sheriff's Department