Whodunit: Murder Trials That Raised Eyebrows

A tragic murder story often grabs news headlines as it piques both curiosity and empathy from the public. When the suspect list consists of family members, loved ones and other domestic affiliates, it further adds to a collective sense of pain and mystery. This is the case with the Oscar Pistorius’ trial currently trending on social media, as well as other cases of the past. We look at some of these below:

JonBenet Ramsay (1996) was winner of a child beauty pageant and who was only six when she left the world; reasons of death were reported as head injury and strangulation. The suspects were the parents, John and Patricia Ramsey, but DNA results were to suggest otherwise. In 2013, upon release of prior documents, it was learned that Colorado Grand Jury had indicted the parents on the charge of child abuse resulting in death. The District Attorney, however, did not approve the indictment due to insufficient evidence. Despite lingering for years, the crime remains unsolved till today. While the Ramseys have faced large-scale defamation, the police has been criticised equally for the lack of proper investigation.

Meredith Kercher (2007) was a British exchange student in Italy where she tragically met her end. This affair is better known by the name of the accused, Amanda Knox, who was the victim’s roommate. The other accused person in the case was Knox’s boyfriend at the time, Raffaelo Sollecito. Both were found guilty, served a sentence in prison for four years, released upon a second trial and found guilty again in the trial to follow. With such twists and turns, it is hardly a surprise why people have been so involved with this trial. Both the accused have been sentenced for 28 years in prison and plan to appeal the conviction.

Aarushi Talwar (2008) was a 14-year old girl, found dead in her house, along with Hemraj, the chef at the house. Her parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, both dentists by profession, were held as suspects initially. A later investigation found them innocent but in 2013, they were once again, termed guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. The Talwars are also in process of an appeal to the High Court.

Reeva Steenkamp (2013) was a South African model whose former boyfriend, the infamous athlete Oscar Pistorius, faces charges of her murder. The trial is ongoing, engaging audiences globally in the proceedings. In South Africa, domestic crime is not uncommon. However, the high profile candidate associated with this case is what draws attention to it. While the accused states he fired the gun on the assumption that there was an intruder at the place, the public remains largely skeptical of his motives.

Whether the accused in the above trials were responsible for the crimes cannot be said with certainty. However, such real life stories will always garner public interest as death caused by one’s near-and-dear is a deeply shocking reality to fathom.

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