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Murder Made Me Famous

“Angry Betty” Broderick

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Heaven's Gate

A former Texas music teacher and choir leader, Marshall Applewhite was the founder of the Heaven’s Gate, a religious group which organized the largest American mass suicide since Jonestown. Applewhite lured and brainwashed willing followers with promises that extraterrestrials would grant them new bodies for spiritual enlightenment. In 1985, Applewhite and his followers rented a mansion in San Diego and planned a mass suicide they deemed as the “Final Exit”. They proceeded to end their lives by voluntarily suffocating themselves with plastic bags and overdosing on drugs.

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Jean Harris

The 1980 murder of Scarsdale diet doctor, Herman Tarnower, shocks the nation. His lover and headmistress of a prestigious girls’ school is arrested and convicted in a sensational trial in the suburbs of New York City. Jean Harris claims the shooting was accidental when the doctor struggled for her handgun to prevent her attempt at suicide. This true story of wealth, fame and jealousy garners sympathy for Harris as a long-time girlfriend rejected by Tarnower and replaced with a younger woman.

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Jodi Arias

Sex, jealously and obsession fuel a national media fixation on Jodi Arias, who in 2008 savagely murders her ex-boyfriend, 30 year-old motivational speaker Travis Alexander.

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John Gotti

Known as the Teflon Don because charges against him would never stick, John Gotti was the invincible crime boss that ruled the streets of New York as head of the notorious Gambino family from 1985 to 2002. Following a four-year prison sentence for murdering a rival gang member, Gotti quickly rose to prominence in the Gambino family by leading his crew of mafia mobsters towards violent hijackings, illegal gambling, and selling drugs on the streets. Gotti was eventually hunted down by the FBI and sentenced to life in prison in 1992, but died of throat cancer ten years later.

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Joran van der Sloot

When beautiful, 18 year-old Natalee Holloway vanishes while on a graduation trip to Aruba in 2005, the international media converges on young, Dutch citizen Joran van der Sloot, who was the last person seen with her on the Caribbean island.

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Pamela Smart

The horrific murder of 24 year-old Gregg Smart becomes a national media event when his attractive young wife is found to be having an affair with the 15 year-old killer, a case that inspired the Nicole Kidman movie "To Die For."

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Prom Mom

18-year-old Melissa Drexler attended high school in New Jersey where she was impregnated by her boyfriend in 1997. Ignoring her stomach cramps, Drexler arrived at her school’s Prom and gave birth to her son in a bathroom stall. The miraculous moment turned into murder when the teen suffocated the child, wrapping him in a plastic bag and discarding her baby in the trash. Drexler returned to the dance floor as if nothing happened, blaming the blood trail on her period. It's not until janitors discovered the deceased baby in the dumpster that Drexler was finally discovered for the killer she is.

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Scott Peterson

The 2002 disappearance of 27 year-old, pregnant Laci Peterson ignites a national media firestorm when her handsome young husband, Scott, becomes the prime suspect.

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Steven Avery

The 2005 murder of young photographer Teresa Halbach shocks the central Wisconsin community of Manitowoc County. A grisly crime scene of her burned bones is discovered at the family auto salvage business of Steven Avery, recently released from prison after serving 18 years for a rape he didn’t commit. Two years earlier, DNA evidence exonerated him. But now arrested, charged and convicted of the photographer’s murder, Avery’s case becomes the subject of the popular documentary “Making a Murderer,” on Netflix, in which defense attorneys cast doubt on Avery’s guilt once again.

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Susan Smith

Blinded by her obsession for a man who wasn’t interested in women with children, Susan Smith did the unthinkable; pushing her car into a lake, killing her two young sons. Smith’s case first garnered national attention when – for 9 days – she made public emotional pleas for the safe return of her children, claiming her vehicle had been carjacked by a black man who drove away with her sons still in the car. Smith eventually plead guilty to killing her sons and was sentenced to life in prison.

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Ted Bundy

The horrific crimes of charismatic law student Ted Bundy - who killed at least 36 young women - grip the nation in the 1970s and give birth to the term “serial killer.”

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The "Dating Game Killer"

With estimates that run as high as 130 murders, Rodney Alcala’s ruthless spree of murder, rape, and sexual assault throughout the 1970’s has been widely compared to that of Ted Bundy’s. During this time, Alcala took sexually explicit photos of hundreds of young men and women as a self-proclaimed professional photographer. Alcala was a contestant on the TV show, The Dating Game in 1978 - despite being a convicted rapist, registered sex offender, and being investigated for multiple murders. After two mistrials, Alcala was sentenced to death in 2010 and 120 of his horrific photographs were later released by police to identify any additional victims.

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The "Night Stalker"

In the span of only two years, Richard Ramirez became known as the “Night Stalker” for breaking into the homes of over 13 people in Los Angeles and viciously raping, torturing and often times, performing Satanic rituals on many of his victims as he brutally murdered them. During his trial, the courtroom famously included female fans of the serial killer. In 1989, Ramirez received 19 death sentences and died 23 years later from sickness while on death row.

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The Green River Killer

With a total of 49 confirmed murders (he confessed to 71), Gary Ridgway, otherwise known as the Green River Killer, is one of the most prolific serial killer in American history. While married, Ridgway began murdering sex workers and children throughout the 1980's and 1990's. Strangling his victims and discarding their bodies around Seattle and the Washington Green River, Ridgway regularly returned to the corpses for intercourse. It wasn't until 2001 when the nefarious necrophiliac was connected by DNA evidence to the murders of four women.

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The Menendez Brothers

The 1989 slaughter of Hollywood media mogul Jose Menendez and his wife becomes a national media event when the couple’s two privileged young sons confess to the murder.

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The Preppy Killer

The partially clothed body of pretty, 18-year-old Jennifer Levin is discovered on the Upper East Side of Manhattan’s Central Park. The chief suspect is handsome 19-year-old Robert Chambers, who claims Jennifer wanted “rough sex” and blames her for her own death. The sensational 1986 tabloid story of affluent teens from New York City’s private prep schools becomes known as the “preppie murder.” And even the jury doesn’t believe Chambers is a cold-blooded killer.

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The Unabomber

A mathematical prodigy and former professor at Cal Berkeley, Ted Kaczynski became widely known as the “Unabomber” after mailing bombs to universities and airlines between 1978 and 1995. After struggling at Berkeley, he decided to live a survivalist lifestyle in a cabin in Montana and adopted an anti-government and anti-technology philosophy. His bombing campaign resulted in the death of three people and injured 23 more. He would often send written manifestos on the problems of modern society and demand that they be printed in the paper.

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Whitey Bulger

Notorious gangster, Whitey Bulger, was one of the most prominent figures in Boston’s organized crime scene. From 1975 to 1990, Bulger also served as an informant to the FBI and tipped off police of other crime families while simultaneously building his own crime network. Bulger spent 12 years on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for charges that included racketeering, extortion, conspiracy and 11 murders. Bulger was the subject of the 2015 film Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as the crime boss himself.

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Yolanda Saldivar

On one tragic afternoon in 1995, the Queen of Tejano Music, Selena Quintanilla, was inexplicably shot down by the president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar, in a Corpus Christi hotel. Not only did Saldivar receive a life sentence in prison, but she was also cemented as the most hated woman in the Latin American community for taking the life of one of the most celebrated and influential Latin artists of all-time, selling over 60 million albums worldwide.

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Aaron Hernandez

From All-American to convicted murderer, Aaron Hernandez’ early career success as tight end for the New England Patriots was shockingly overshadowed by his violent life as a killer. Hernandez’ temper seemed to get the best of him in situations, and he was charged with the first-degree murder of friend Odin Lloyd and also indicted in connection with two drive-by murders in 2012. Without the possibility of parole on his life sentence, Hernandez ultimately saw no way out from it all and tragically took his own life in prison in 2017.

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Billionaire Boys Club

Con man Joe Hunt forms an investment club with wealthy young men who trust him with their families’ money. The Ponzi scheme leads to murder when Hunt gets involved with Ron Levin, a notorious con man, himself. Set in Beverly Hills with fancy cars and expensive designer suits, this story about upper class young men with bright futures turns into a bizarre tale of greed, deception, violence, missing bodies and eventually, life in prison.

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Charles Manson

In 1969, nine people are killed by a notorious cult leader with mostly female followers living in a commune. Among the brutally murdered is pregnant actress Sharon Tate. The two-night murder spree terrorizes Los Angeles and uncovers a bizarre revenge and connection to musical legend Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys and actress Doris Day’s son, Terry Melcher, a producer who failed to promote the musical ambitions of Charles Manson.

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David Koresh

As the leader of the Branch Davidians religious cult, David Koresh became highly known for leading his “Army of God” in a 51-day standoff against the Federal Government that resulted in the deaths of four ATF agents and over 80 Davidians. After stockpiling massive amounts of weapons in preparation for the apocalypse and alleged sex with minor cult members, the ATF raided their holy compound and burned down the center after their bloody standoff. Koresh was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after the fire.

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Drew Peterson

A Bolingbrook, Illinois police sergeant bathes in the media limelight after he becomes a suspect in the drowning murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio and the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Cales Peterson, in 2007