Infamous Florida mother Casey Anthony was acquitted in July of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. Casey Anthony reported her daughter missing on July 15, 2008, claiming she was kidnapped by a nanny in June. Caylee's decomposed body was found in the woods near the Anthonys' home in December and a medical examiner was never able to determine how she died. At trial, the defense said Anthony lied about the nanny, claiming that Caylee had actually died in the family swimming pool on June 16.
The prosecution contended that Caylee was suffocated with duct tape by her mother, who loved to party, tattooed herself with the Italian words for "beautiful life" in the month her daughter was missing and crafted elaborate lies to mislead everyone from investigators to her own parents about what had happened to her daughter.
Anthony was acquitted of murder, and found guilty of four lesser charges of providing false information to a law enforcement officer. With credit for time served she spent only one additional week in jail after her sentencing.
Amanda Knox was convicted in 2009 of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher, her roommate in Perugia, Italy. Knox was sentenced in an Italian court to 26 years in prison for the British student's death. Knox's co-defendant and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian, was convicted of the same charges and sentenced to 25 years.
When she entered the spotlight in 2007, with her fair hair, blue eyes and photogenic looks, Knox immediately fascinated audiences.
Some called her an "angel face" devil, others saw a na
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In November 2011, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was indicted on charges he sexually abused at least eight boys over a 15 year period. According to a graphic grand jury report, Sandusky allegedly found his victims through The Second Mile, a sports charity he founded for underprivileged youth.
The scandal rocked Penn State and led to the dismissal of storied football coach Joe Paterno, as well as two high-level university administrators who have been indicted for lying to a grand jury about what they knew of Sandusky
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Dr. Conrad Murray
Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, was sentenced on Nov. 29 to four years behind bars for his role in the death of the pop superstar. The Houston-based cardiologist was convicted of involuntary manslaughter earlier in November after a six-week trial that presented the most detailed account yet of Jackson's final hours, and how Murray, 58, administered the powerful anesthetic propofol to treat the superstar's chronic insomnia.
During the investigation into Jackson's June 2009 death, Murray told detectives he had been giving Jackson nightly doses of propofol to help him sleep as he prepared for a series of comeback concerts. Propofol is supposed to be used in hospital settings and has never been approved for sleep treatments, yet Murray acknowledged giving it to Jackson then leaving the room on the day the singer died.
Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor chastised Murray for a "horrific violation of trust" in caring for the pop star and called the heavy use of propofol "medicine madness."
After serving more than 15 years in prison for the murders of three 8-year-old Cub Scouts in 1993, the men known as
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was convicted of sexually assaulting two girls, one younger than 17 and one younger than 14, in August 2011. His followers in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a Mormon offshoot, believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven and see Jeffs as God's earthly spokesman.
The charges against Jeffs stemmed from a massive raid of the church's remote West Texas ranch in April 2008, where authorities found underage girls who were clearly pregnant. Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison in August 2011. He claims he was the victim of religious persecution.
Anthony Sowell, the serial killer who murdered 11 women and kept their bodies in and around his Cleveland home, was found guilty and sentenced to death in the summer of 2011. On December 6, his "House of Horrors" was demolished.
The Long Island Serial Killer, still unidentified, is thought to have killed 10 people whose remains were found in the scrub brush of Long Island beaches. While searching for missing New Jersey woman Shannan Gilbert in December 2010, police uncovered the remains of four bodies hidden alongside a remote parkway. As the searching continued, a total of 10 sets of human remains were found.
2011: Year in Review
On Saturday, Dec. 17, authorities positively identified remains found at Oak Beach as those of Shannan Gilbert. However, Suffolk County police do not believe that Gilbert was the victim of a serial killer. Officials remain at odds over how many killers may be involved in the case.
Credit: Pool,AP Photo/James Carbone
Cheshire, Conn. killer Komisarjevsky sentenced to death
In September 2011, Joshua Komisarjevsky went on trial for his part in the gruesome triple murder of three members of the Petit family in their Cheshire home in 2007. Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor of the home invasion that left his wife and two daughters dead, and his house ablaze, took the stand and prosecutors showed photos of the rope and pantyhose used to tie up the women. Komisarjevsky was convicted in October and, like his accomplice Steve Hayes, sentenced to death.
Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger was captured near Los Angeles on June 22, 2011 after spending the last 16 years on the run and evading an epic manhunt that served as a major embarrassment to the FBI and made the fugitive a global sensation.
Bulger was on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list for his alleged role in 19 murders in the 1970s and 80s. Just days after the government launched a new publicity campaign to locate the fugitive mobster, the FBI finally caught up with 81-year-old Bulger at a residence in Santa Monica where he apparently lived with longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig.
Bulger has pleaded not guilty to a racketeering indictment that accuses him of participating in 19 murders.