On the 75th anniversary of the Lindbergh kidnapping, TIME magazine decided to look back at The 25 Most Notorious Crimes of the Past Hundred Years. Using just their list, I decided to rank my top five… starting at the bottom…
5. The Black Dahlia, 1947. Ask most folks who Elizabeth Short was and few will know. Ask them about the Black Dahlia and it’s a different story. How can it be that a murder committed over 60 years ago still grabs our attention?
4. The Murder of Jonbenet Ramsey, 1996. Little Jonbenet was found murdered in her own house the day after Christmas. As the case first unfolded it appeared that her killer would be caught and evidence seemed to point to her own mother. The police botched the investigation, her parents left the state and no one was ever charged or convicted of the murder.
3. The Tate – LaBianca Murders, 1969. I was ten years old at the time of the killings and living half a continent away. Still, I remember the concern in the voices of the adults as they discussed the murders. Charlie Manson’s cult of followers brutally murdered six people and created a climate of fear that was felt across the country.
2. Columbine Massacre, 1999. There had been school shootings prior to Columbine, but none before had such a high casualty rate, nor did they receive as much media coverage. The fact that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 of their classmates, one teacher and wounded 24 others, coupled with security video of them as they moved through the school brought the reality of the murders into our homes. We realized just how much damage two lonely, isolated kids could bring down on a school. It was frightening. And even more so when we contemplated how many lonely isolated kids could be in EACH school in America.
1. The OJ Simpson Case, 1994. Consider this: Time magazine didn’t list the double-murder of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman as the notorious crime, but instead labeled their choice The OJ Simpson Case! It’s funny that the OJ case even made the list since the trial itself wasn’t a crime, [perhaps a travesty, but not a crime]. It’s even a stranger choice when you consider that OJ was found not guilty! Despite all of that, The OJ Simpson Case is my #1 most notorious crime of the last 100 years. Not only did it involve the murder of two people, but it brought down a legend [OJ], brought into question the integrity of a city’s police force [LA], created doubt about the sanctity of our judicial system, and exposed just how differently two groups of people could view the same evidence. Here we are over a decade later and people still get heated talking about the case.