The Washington Post

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.

View Photo Gallery: Brittany Norwood was convicted of first-degree murder in the Lululemon trial at Montgomery County Circuit Court.

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.

View Photo Gallery: Virginia Tech police officer Deriek W. Crouse, 39, was fatally shot during a routine traffic stop, and the gunman took his own life in a nearby parking lot, officials said. A funeral service for Crouse was held on the Virginia Tech campus.

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.

View Photo Gallery: Maryland state police announced that a 19-year-old student at Bowie State University has been charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of her roommate on campus.

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.

View Photo Gallery: The Georgetown socialite, who was found dead in August, found her husband Albrecht Gero Muth intelligent and a good companion. Her friends were wary of him. Muth, who was married to Drath for 22 years, is charged with killing her.

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.

View Photo Gallery: Robert Wone was found dead in a Northwest D.C. townhouse in August 2006. The three defendants who were charged with conspiring to cover up his death were found not guilty on June 29, 2010. No one has been arrested in his slaying.

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.

View Photo Gallery: The Mara Salvatrucha gang, the transnational gang known more colloquially as MS-13, is involved in criminal activities in most parts of Latin America, as well as the United States. The gang originated in Los Angeles and spread from there, and now has a large presence in Fairfax and Prince George’s counties.

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.

View Photo Gallery: 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.


Crime Scene: More crime and courts stories

The 10 most-read local stories of 2011

Quiz: Test your knowledge of 2011’s biggest stories

Best of 2011: Notable quotes from local news

Gallery: The District’s biggest news events of 2011

The Best of 2011

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