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It's hard to imagine that there could be any media magnet quite like the Casey Anthony case, but one has only to look at the last few sensational trials to realize that there's nothing the media loves more than a potential criminal in the limelight.
Casey Anthony was charged with the murder of her daughter, Caylee Anthony, after the girl's body was found in 2008. Anthony's high-profile trial was televised on major news networks and had spectators lined up outside the courthouse, sometimes starting riots to get in. In July 2011 she was found not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, narrowly avoiding the death penalty.
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When Laci Peterson and her unborn child were found dead near her home in California, her husband was at the top of the suspect list. He was arrested in 2003 after allegedly preparing to flee the country. A jury convicted him of murdering his wife and unborn son, and Peterson was sentenced to the death penalty. As of this writing, Peterson still sits on death row in California and is in the midst of appeals to the Supreme Court of California.
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Six-year-old beauty pageant queen JonBenet Ramsay was found dead in the basement of her Boulder, Colorado home in 1996. Her family was immediately suspected of murdering the girl, but investigations ruled them out as the perpetrators. In 2006, John Mark Karr confessed to the murder while being transported from Thailand to the United States on child pornography charges. Karr's DNA did not match that found at the crime scene, and charges against him were dropped. Though his case never made it to trial, the incident reignited the media frenzy surrounding the ten-year-old murder.
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Natalee Holloway vanished on May 30, 2006 in Aruba during a high school graduation trip. Her body has yet to be found, and the investigation has been universally condemned as it veered back and forth between arresting and releasing local suspects Joran van der Sloot and Deepak and Satish Kalpoe. Pictured is her mother, Beth Holloway, who has front the beginning been a persistent critic of Aruba's investigation and an advocate for both a revelation as to what her daughter's final moments were, and a series of dramatized adaptations of the trauma. (UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg)
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The disappearance of Washington, D.C. intern Chandra Levy captivated the nation in May 2001, a mystery which many assumed was the result of an alleged affair with former California Democratic Rep. Gary Condit. He was never officially a suspect, however, and in Nov. 2010, illegal immigrant Ingmar Guandique was convicted of murdering Levy, for which he has been sentenced to 60 years in prison. (rlw/Roger L. Wollenberg. UPI)
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US pop icon Michael Jackson was at the center of a 14-week trial in which he was accused of child molestation. On June 13, 2005, Jackson was acquitted of all charges. The charges, which led to outcry and protest from supporters, would have seen him jailed for more than 18 years. (UPI Photo/Jim Ruymen)
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Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was arrested in 2003 after a 19-year-old hotel employee accused him of sexual assault. Though Bryant admitted sexual relations with the woman, he insisted it was consensual. The case was ultimately dismissed and the woman's lawsuit settled out of court, but only after high media coverage of both Bryant and his accuser.
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