Unusual crime stories make the news on a regular basis, grabbing the imagination of the viewers and keeping them enthralled and glued to their television sets, not to mention increasing the network ratings. These crimes make huge splashes in the news and tantalize the audience with wild scenes of decadence and drama, like the latest soap opera or reality show. Most crimes of this caliber usually involve, money, murder, sex.
Chicago Woman Kills Mother While on Exotic Vacation
The Bali suitcase murder case involved a million dollar trust, an exotic vacation, angst between a mother and daughter, and conspiracy between lovers to commit murder. Heather Mack and Tommy Schaefer were convicted and sentenced to 10 and 18 years, respectively, for the murder of Mack’s mother. They will be serving their time in a Bahi prison. Mack, Schaefer, and Mack’s mother were on vacation when the murder occurred. Soon after being incarcerated, Mack gave birth to her daughter. According to Indonesian law, the baby will be raised by Mack in her prison cell until the child reaches the age of two years old.
Mack and her mother were locked in a bitter battle over a $1.56 million trust. The trust is supposed to be the motive for the murder. What will eventually happen to the trust is still being litigated. With respect to what will ultimately happen to the child when she turns two years old, that also does not appear to have been decided yet. (ABC7 News)
Other Infamous Cases, Tried in the Media
The State vs. Casey Anthony. In 2008, Casey Anthony was accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter. The daughter went missing and no one seemed to know what had happened to her. A search began for baby Caylee, and a media frenzy ensued soon thereafter. There were false leads and grandiose stories complete with fictitious characters. When all was said and done, Anthony was acquitted of all charges. (Casey Anthony Biography)
The State vs. Jodi Arias. In 2013, Jodi Arias was sentenced to “natural” life in prison for the death of Travis Alexander. Arias and Alexander were in an on-again off-again relationship that is presumed to be the reason for his death. In 2008, Alexander was brutally murdered and suspicion immediately fell on Arias as the most likely murder suspect. Aries was charged with first degree murder and the prosecutors sought the death penalty. After the jury deadlocked in the penalty phase, the prosecutors gave them the option of the death penalty or life in prison. At the new sentencing hearing, Arias received a life sentence. (Huffington Post)
The State vs. O.J. Simpson. One of the most infamous of all murder cases was the 1994 murder trial of O.J. Simpson. The trial was complete with the celebrity status of the accused, jealousy, spousal abuse, and the eventual murder trial. Viewers were able to tune into live coverage of the trial as it took place in real time. The long-awaited verdict was an acquittal. Those who watched the trial became armchair judges, jurists, prosecutors, and defense counsel. We all analyzed the evidence as it was presented and gave our analysis and opinions around the water cooler the next day. It was intriguing to be able to witness a trial from the comfort of our living rooms. Murder trials were pushed into a new medium, that of the televised trial. (CBS News)
One of the dangers of televised trials is that cases can be won or lost in the media. The public starts to get a feeling that they know all there is to know about trying a case because they saw it on their television set. But this is what is meant by the phrase, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Armchair attorneys in a reality show are fine, but in real life, you will want the services of an experienced criminal law attorney. You will want to call the Law Offices of David Freidberg at (312) 560-7100, or send an email, for a no-obligation consultation.