Top Crime Stories of 2004

Top Headlines of the Year

These are the crime stories that captured the public's attention the most during 2004 -- some because of the nature of the crime and others because of the fame of the accused.

Scott Peterson Gets Death
Hundreds of pregnant women are killed by their husbands every year. Why was the Scott Peterson trial the most covered crime story of the year? Because the national news media picked up the story when Laci Peterson was still "missing" and the story evolved as the case unfolded.

Kobe Bryant's Trial Called Off
She-said, he-said stories take place everyday, but when the accused rapist is a star player for the NBA Los Angeles Lakers, it makes top headlines. The Kobe Bryant criminal trial never took place, when his accuser backed out of testifying at the last minute. She is pursuing a civil lawsuit against Bryant instead.

The Search for Lori Hacking
This was the biggest story in Utah in 2004. A pregnant Lori Hacking was reported missing, but her husband later confessed to his family members that he shot her in the head and dumped her body in a trash bin. Her badly decomposed body was found in a landfill after volunteers searched through tons of trash for several weeks.

The Murder of Bobbie Jo Stennett
For the first time in history, an Amber Alert was issued for a missing fetus after Bobbie Jo Stennett was strangled to death in her Skidmore, Missouri home and her eight-month fetus was cut from her womb.

The baby was found healthy in Kansas and Lisa M. Montgomery was arrested and charged with the crime. Her case will create many more headlines in 2005.

Michael Jackson's Neverland Searched
This case promises to be the hottest crime story of 2005, as Michael Jackson is set to go on trial Jan. 31 on child molestation charges.

But there was plenty of developments to keep the press busy during 2004, including two search warrants served on Jackson's Neverland Ranch.

Martha Stewart Goes to Prison
This is another case where the crime itself was not that big of a deal, but America learned that even the rich and famous can end up in prison if they get on the wrong side of the law and try to cover it up by lying to the feds.

The Return of the BTK Killer
After a silence for almost 27 years, the BTK killer began communicating with Wichita police again through a series of letters. BTK has claimed responsibility for eight murders -- seven in the 1970s and another one he recently took credit for in 1986.

The Robert Blake Trial
After years of delays, the murder trial of actor Robert Blake for the shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, got underway as the year 2004 came to a close. The jury heard three days of testimony before Christmas then took a break for the holidays until after New Year's.

The Allen-Cutshall Murders
Jason Allen and Lindsay Cutshall, two Christian camp counselors who planned to be married, were shot in their sleep in their sleeping bags as they camped on Fishhead Beach in Jenner, California. This may be one of those random acts of violence crimes that is never solved.

Phil Spector Indicted for Murder
Legendary rock and roll music producer Phil Spector is charged with the fatal shooting of former actress Lana Clarkston Feb. 3, 2003 at his Los Angeles mansion. In 2004, he was indicted by a grand jury on murder charges, and complained loudly that the indictment would prevent him from getting a preliminary hearing. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.