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The Top Crime Stories of 2009

No Charges Yet in Michael Jackson Case

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The top crime stories for 2009 included a high-profile case in which no arrests have been made, a kidnapped Lake Tahoe girl turned up 18 years later, and the home-invasion murder of a couple known for adopting disabled children that may turn out to be much more than a burglary gone bad.

1. The Death of Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
Getty Images
On June 25, 2009, less than a month before he was scheduled to begin a series of comeback concerts, paramedics were called to Michael Jackson's rented home in Holby Hills near Los Angeles where they found him unconscious and not responding. Six months later, no arrests have been made.

2. The Case of Jaycee Lee Dugard

Jaycee Lee Dugard
FBI
On June 10, 1991, Jaycee Lee Dugard was seen being abducted by a man and woman in a car while she was waiting at a school bus stop near her in South Lake Tahoe, California. She was found 18 years later with two daughters of her own.

3. The Crimes of Anthony Sowell

Anthony Sowell
Police Mug Shot
On October 29, 2009, police in Cleveland, Ohio went to the home of Anthony Sowell after a woman told police that he had raped her there. They found two decomposing bodies in the house. Subsequent searches turned up the remains of 10 bodies and a skull hidden in the home and buried in the yard.

4. The Deaths of Byrd and Melanie Billings

Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr.
Police Mug Shot
On July 9, 2009, several men dressed as ninjas invaded the home of Byrd and Melanie Billings, a wealthy Florida couple who were known for adopting children with special needs. The couple died from multiple gunshot wounds in their bedroom in what investigators believe was more than a simply robbery.

5. O.J. Simpson Goes to Prison

O.J. Simpson Sentencing
Issac Brekken-Pool/Getty Images
On Sept. 13, 2007, Simpson and four other men entered a Las Vegas casino hotel room where some of his sports memorabilia was being offered for sale by two collectors. Police arrested O.J. Simpson on kidnapping and armed robbery charges. He was found guilty by a jury.

6. A Conviction in the Elizabeth Smart Case

Elizabeth Smart
© Getty Images
After seven years, a suspect in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart finally faced justice. Wanda Barzee, returned to competency by forced medication, entered a guilty plea and was sentenced. Brian David Mitchell's competency is still in question.

7. The Trial of Melissa Huckaby

Melissa Huckaby
Mugshot
On March 27, 2009, 8-year-old Sandra Cantu disappeared from the mobile home park where she lived in Tracy, California. She was last seen on a video surveillance tape skipping toward her best friend's home. Sunday school teacher Melissa Huckaby has been charged with her death.

8. An Arrest in the Murder of Chandra Levy

Chandra Levy
Metro. Police
On May 1, 2001, Washington D.C. intern Chandra Levy disappeared while walking her dog in Rock Creek Park. A year later, someone else walking a dog found her remains. Almost 8 years later an arrest was made in the case after witnesses came forward.

9. The Craigslist Killer Case

Philip Markoff
Getty Images News
Philip Markoff, a 22-year-old medical student was arrested by Boston authorities in connection with a series of crimes against women who were advertising erotic services on the online classified service Craigslist.

10. Phil Spector Found Guilty

Phil Spector
Mug Shot
Legendary rock and roll music producer Phil Spector was charged with the fatal shooting of former actress Lana Clarkston Feb. 3, 2003 at his Los Angeles mansion. His first trial ended in a mistrial. He was not so lucky the second time around.
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