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Posted at 10:13 AM ET, 12/21/2011

Lululemon murder, Jack Johnson case are among most-read local crime and courts stories of 2011

Homicides. Government corruption. Gang violence and reckless driving.

The year’s crime stories ran the gamut from the tragic to the bizarre. Revisit the headlines with PostLocal’s list of the 10 most-read crime and courts stories of 2011.

1. Lululemon slaying and murder trial

On March 11, Jayna Murray was brutally attacked at the Lululemon Athletica store in Bethesda, enduring 331 stabbing and beating wounds before she died. After a graphic six-day trial in October, Murray’s co-worker, Brittany Norwood, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying.

2. Sean Lanigan, a teacher falsely accused

In 2010, Fairfax County teacher Sean Lanigan was accused of molesting one of his students. The 12-year-old girl, it turned out, had made the story up. But, as the Post’s Tom Jackman found out in May, “her accusations launched a soul-sapping rollercoaster ride” that, more than a year later, had not ended.

3. Jack Johnson corruption case

Ex-Prince George’s county executive Jack B. Johnson was sentenced in December to more than seven years in federal prison for his role behind a corruption conspiracy that netted him as much as $1 million in bribes. Other county officials, businessmen, developers and his wife, former county council member Leslie Johnson, were also implicated in the scandal.

4. Two killed at Virginia Tech

Four years after the shooting rampage that left 33 people dead, tragedy struck the Virginia Tech campus again in December, when a gunman shot and killed a campus police officer before turning the gun on himself.

5. Bowie State student stabbed

Dominique T. Frazier, of the District, was killed in September after an argument with her roommate, Alexis D. Simpson, escalated into a fatal physical fight.

6. Drunken sex on the Beltway

A man caused a crash on the Beltway, claiming that he was “otherwise engaged” — admittedly, but inexplicably, driving drunk while having sex with a woman in the backseat of the car — at the time of the collision.

7. Viola Drath’s death

The 91-year-old socialite Viola Drath was found beaten to death in her Georgetown home in August. Her husband, 47-year-old Albrecht Gero Muth was charged with Drath’s murder, but claimed her death was a “hit” ordered by Iranian agents.

8. Lawsuit in slaying of Robert Wone settled

Washington lawyer Robert Wone was stabbed to death while a guest at his friends’ Dupont Circle townhouse in 2006. In August, Wone’s widow settled her wrongful death lawsuit against the three men, who allegedly drugged and sexually assaulted Wone the night of his death.

9. MS-13 gang branches out into prostitution

In 2011, authorities arrested four members or associates of the Mara Salvatrucha street gang, also known as MS-13, in Northern Virginia on federal prostitution-related charges involving juvenile victims.

10. Undercover sting yields weapons, guns and drugs

A year-long undercover sting orchestrated by the Metropolitan Police Department and federal authorities netted $7.2 million in drugs, 161 weapons and 70 arrests.


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The Best of 2011

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By  |  10:13 AM ET, 12/21/2011

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