While a month still remains before 2008 mercifully comes to an end, I’m offering one blogger’s list of this year’s noteworthy crimes and criminals. The list is chronological and certainly not all-inclusive.

On Jan. 19, 2008, Santa Barbara City College student Brianna Denison disappeared from a friend’s home in Reno, Nevada, while on winter break. Her body was found Feb. 15 in a field in south Reno. James Michael Biela has been arrested for her murder.

On March 5, Eve Marie Carson, student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was found shot to death. Demario James Atwater and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr. have been arrested for her murder. Authorities said the two kidnapped Carson at gunpoint, forced her to withdraw money from ATM machines and then shot her five times and left her in the middle of a street near the university campus.

On March 10, the New York Times reported that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who gained national prominence relentlessly pursuing Wall Street wrongdoing, was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel. Spitzer subsequently resigned as governor.

On June 15, 2008, Cindy Anthony called 9-1-1 in Orlando, Florida to report that her daughter, Casey Anthony, had stolen a car and some money. She called back later to report that her granddaughter, Casey's daughter, 2-year-old Caylee Anthony was missing and had been missing for more than a month. On October 14, a grand jury indicted Casey Anthony on seven counts, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four counts of providing false information. Caylee has not been found.

On April 11, fugitive Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean was arrested in Mexico for the murder of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach. The 20-year-old Lauterbach was eight months pregnant and had accused Laurean of raping her. Lauterbach’s remains and those of her unborn child were found buried in a burn pit in Lauren’s backyard.

On August 1, Bruce Ivins, a top U.S. biodefense researcher, committed suicide just as the Justice Department was about to file criminal charges against him in the anthrax mailings that traumatized the nation in the weeks following the 9-1-1 terrorist attacks.

Oct. 3, exactly thirteen years after he was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in Los Angeles, O.J. Simpson was found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping of two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a Las Vegas casino hotel room. Simpson will be sentenced on December 5.

On October 20, TV anchorwoman Anne Pressly was found badly beaten in the bedroom of her home in the Pulaski Heights section of Little Rock. She died five days later of her injuries without regaining consciousness. Curtis Lavelle Vance has been arrested for the murder of Pressly.

On October 24, Darnell Hudson Donerson, mother of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson and Jason Hudson, her brother, were found shot to death at the family home on the South Side of Chicago. Three days later, the body of 7-year-old Julian King, Hudson's nephew, was found in a SUV parked on the West Side. He also had been shot. William Balfour, the estranged brother-in-law of Jennifer Hudson, has been arrested for the murders.

Finally, this year’s list would not be complete without noting that federal prosecutors are hunting through the remains of the stock-market collapse and housing bust of 2008 for evidence of white-collar crime. Prosecutors are focused on whether there was any manipulation that occurred in the multi-trillion-dollar trade of credit default swaps. The FBI, meanwhile, is investigating two-dozen large financial firms on a wide range of charges. Those reportedly on the agency's list include mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, insurer American International Group and failed investment bank Lehman Brothers.

Hopefully, charges and convictions will be forthcoming.

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Comment by Christopher Valen on December 4, 2008 at 9:31am
John,
The list definitely could've been much longer. And I only included U.S. crimes!!
Comment by John McFetridge on December 4, 2008 at 7:36am
I'm just glad you stopped at ten.

I guess you could have made it the top 100 or top 500 and had no shortage of stories.

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