Top 10 Times Public Figures Got Arrested for Murder

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Top 10 Times Public Figures Got Arrested for Murder

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
The crimes these celebrities are connected to will shock you! For this list, we'll be looking at various famous and public people who were once arrested for murder. Our countdown includes Suge Knight, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Snoop Dogg, and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Times Public Figures Got Arrested For Murder


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Times Public Figures Got Arrested For Murder.

For this list, we’ll be looking at various famous and public people who were once arrested for murder. To be very clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these people are guilty - if they were, that will be made clear. In this case, they will be included as long as they were arrested under suspicion.

Which of these stories do you find the most interesting? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Suge Knight

This music executive was once at the forefront of gangsta rap. By co-founding Death Row Records, Suge Knight helped catapult the likes of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac to fame, and in turn, played a major role in the commercialization of the genre. However, Knight always carried a reputation for violent intimidation techniques and was arrested on numerous occasions. In January of 2015, Knight ran over two men after arguing on the set of “Straight Outta Compton”, killing Terry Carter and injuring filmmaker Cle Sloan. He was arrested for the attack and pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter. Knight is currently serving a 28-year sentence at San Diego’s RJ Donovan Correctional Facility.

#9: Robert Blake

As an actor, Robert Blake is perhaps best remembered for his four-season stint on ABC’s “Baretta” and for starring as Perry Smith in “In Cold Blood.” On May 4, 2001, Blake’s wife Bonnie Lee Bakley was shot and killed inside Blake’s vehicle, while Blake was allegedly inside a nearby Italian restaurant. Blake was arrested and charged for her death, as a retired stuntman named Ronald Hambleton claimed that Blake had attempted to hire him as a hitman. Blake was eventually found innocent, resulting in some mixed opinions from the public. Some fans celebrated, while District Attorney Stephen Cooley called the jury “incredibly stupid.” Blake was later found responsible for Bakley’s death in a civil suit and was ordered to pay her family $30 million.

#8: Phil Spector

It’s not often that record producers become famous, but Phil Spector proves the exception. Known for his influential studio techniques, Spector was a superstar throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, working with the likes of The Beatles and Tina Turner. Spector became a recluse in the early ‘80s but re-emerged in 2003 after being charged for the death of actress Lana Clarkson. Spector had shot Clarkson inside his Los Angeles mansion in the early morning of February 3. His televised court case eventually ended in a hung jury, and Spector was freed. A retrial began in 2008 and ended with a guilty verdict, sending Spector to prison for at least 19 years. He died while serving out his sentence on January 16, 2021.

#7: Gucci Mane

Known for popularizing the trap rap genre, Gucci Mane has released dozens of records, EPs, and mixtapes throughout his career, including three gold-certified albums. He’s also quite a contentious public figure and has faced numerous legal issues. His most serious charge came in May 2005, when Mane was arrested for the death of Pookie Loc. On May 10, Gucci Mane was attacked by a group of men while visiting a female friend. After being punched while his friend got pistol-whipped, Gucci shot one of the men in self-defense. His body was later found behind a middle school. After learning of the warrant for his arrest, Gucci turned himself in to the police, claiming self-defense. The homicide charge was eventually dropped.

#6: Dog the Bounty Hunter

Duane Chapman rose to prominence by catching Andrew Luster, the heir to a cosmetics fortune who had fled to Mexico following sexual violence charges. He was then given his popular A&E show “Dog the Bounty Hunter”, which ran for eight seasons. But Chapman was on the wrong side of the law before fighting for it. Back in 1976 - when Chapman was in his early 20s - he and a friend went to buy marijuana from a dealer named Jerry Oliver. While Chapman was waiting in the car, his friend shot and killed Oliver in a scuffle. Despite being outside, Chapman was charged for his death and sentenced to five years in prison. He served one-and-a-half.

#5: Sid Vicious

Real name Simon Ritchie, Sid Vicious is known as the kind-of bassist for The Sex Pistols. He is credited on just two songs found on the band’s only studio album, with most of the bass work being performed by guitarist Steve Jones. On October 12, 1978, Vicious’s girlfriend Nancy Spungen was found dead in Manhattan’s Hotel Chelsea. She had been stabbed with a hunting knife, and Vicious - who claimed to have found her body - was charged for her death. Vicious gave conflicting reports as to what happened and at one point admitted to the homicide, stating, “I stabbed her, but I never meant to kill her.” Vicious died of a heroin overdose before the case went to trial.

#4: Oscar Pistorius

A prominent South African athlete, Oscar Pistorius has competed in both the Paralympics and Olympics, winning gold in Athens, Beijing, and London. But just five months after the London Paralympics ended, Pistorius killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, by shooting her four times. Postorius claims that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. He was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in prison. However, a later case appeal overturned the original sentence and charged Pistorius with homicide. According to them, it didn’t matter if Pistorius thought he was firing on an intruder, as he failed to issue a warning and had shot to kill. He was subsequently sentenced to six years in prison, and this was later increased to thirteen.

#3: Aaron Hernandez

The subject of a Netflix documentary, Aaron Hernandez once played tight end for the New England Patriots. However, his football career came to an abrupt end in 2013 when he was arrested for the shooting death of Odin Lloyd. Lloyd was connected to Hernandez, as he was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée. The motive behind the killing was never officially established, although some believe that Lloyd knew personal secrets that Hernandez wanted kept secret. Hernandez was also suffering from a neurodegenerative disease called CTE, and some believe that had something to do with it. Regardless, Hernandez was found guilty of homicide and sentenced to life in prison. He took his own life while in custody.

#2: Snoop Dogg

A rapper who needs no introduction, Snoop Dogg has been a prominent figure in pop culture since the early ‘90s. His debut album “Doggystyle” was a huge success, reaching #1 in America and being certified 4x platinum. Unfortunately, the recording of the album was marred by an intense legal battle. In August 1993, Snoop Dogg was arrested after a gang member named Phillip Woldemariam was killed near his apartment. Woldemariam was allegedly shot in a drive-by shooting, with Snoop supposedly driving the vehicle and his personal bodyguard committing the shooting. He was defended by famed lawyer Johnnie Cochran, and following a messy trial in which the prosecution was repeatedly held in contempt, Snoop was officially acquitted.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Michael Jace
Actor from “The Shield” Convicted of Second-Degree Homicide for Killing His Wife

Ray Lewis
Football Linebacker Indicted on Homicide Charges After Two Were Stabbed

Jim Gordon
The Drummer for Derek and the Dominos Killed His Mother in 1983

Claudine Longet
A ‘60s Pop Artist Convicted of Negligent Homicide After Killing Her Boyfriend

#1: O. J. Simpson

There has never been a celebrity court case quite like O. J. Simpson’s. While Simpson was a popular football player, the trial made him an international household name. The famous Bronco chase was watched by over 90 million people, various aspects of the trial became pieces of pop culture history, and it is arguably the most infamous “not guilty” case of the modern era. While Simpson was tried for the deaths of Ron Goldman and his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, he was famously acquitted on October 3, 1995. Many people believe that the prosecution bungled the case, and in 2016, a poll co-conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News found that a majority of Americans believe Simpson is guilty.
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