From cold-blooded murders to freak accidents – these following cases have all ended in the death of an innocent victim. Whether you’re an A-list actor or a professional athlete, when you have ended the life of another, you will still feel remorse. These following celebrities know that more than anyone else…
12. Caitlyn Jenner
On February 7th, 2015, 66-year-old Caitlyn Jenner was driving an SUV when she became involved in a fatal multiple-vehicle collision on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California. 69-year-old Kim Howe, an animal rights activist and actress, was killed when Jenner’s car collided with hers and pushed the vehicle into oncoming traffic. Jenner was not injured in the incident.
The former Olympian has been cleared of any wrongdoing, although there were reports that she was texting at the time of the incident but these allegations have not been proven. There are still pending lawsuits stemming from the accident.
11. Matthew Broderick
On August 5th, 1987, when actor Matthew Broderick was 25-years-old, he caused a car accident in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, while on holiday with his then-girlfriend, Dirty Dancing actress Jennifer Grey. The pair was dating in secret before the event caused a media storm, not just because of their relationship but also the fact that Broderick had killed a mother and her daughter.
The Producers star hired a BMW and crossed into wrong lane causing a direct collision with a Volvo vehicle, which was driven by 28-year-old Anna Gallagher. The passenger in the Volvo was Anna’s mother, 63-year-old Margaret Doherty, and the two were killed instantly in the crash. Broderick himself suffered a fractured leg, fractured ribs, a collapsed lung and concussion. Grey had minor injuries and severe whiplash.
Broderick claims, “I don’t remember the day. I don’t remember even getting up in the morning. I don’t remember making my bed. What I first remember is waking up in the hospital, with a very strange feeling going on in my leg.” He was charged with careless driving and fined $175, which the victim’s family called “a travesty of justice”.
10. Don King
84-year-old Donald “Don” King is an American boxing promoter best known for his flamboyant, over-the-top personality. He has promoted some of the most famous names in boxing, including Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Julio César Chávez and Roy Jones, Jr.. Outside of the ring, almost all of these fighters eventually sued him for fraud. King managed to settle outside of court for a considerably large amount of undisclosed money so he could avoid jail time for felony fraud.
Another occasion when King dodged serving time behind bars was during the time he ran an illegal bookmaking operation in the basement of a record store in Kentucky. A man named Hillary Brown attempted to rob one of King’s gambling houses, so he shot him in the back. As a robbery was allegedly taking place at the time this was classed as justifiable homicide.
Then in 1966, King was convicted of second-degree murder after he was found guilty of stamping on the head of an employee, Sam Garrett, who owed him $600. His was charged with non-negligent manslaughter and he spent just under four years in prison.
9. Christian Brando
Troubled Christian Brando was the son of The Godfather actor Marlon Brando. As a child, he had small roles in a few movies before his own mother, Anna Kashfi, kidnapped him in 1972. She had arranged to pay a gang of hippies in Baja California, Mexico, $10,000 if they would hide him away. She later refused to pay, so this time they kidnapped him and went into hiding. Marlon Brando then hired his own team of private detectives, who rescued him from a tent, where he needed treatment for bronchial pneumonia. His mother was arrested near the Mexican border and his father was granted sole custody.
Then on May 16th, 1990, Christian fatally shot Dag Drollet, the boyfriend of his half-sister Cheyenne, in the living room of his father’s house in Beverly Hills, California. Cheyenne was 8-months pregnant at the time and she revealed to her brother that Drollet had been violent towards her. That night, a drunken Brando confronted his sister’s boyfriend and shot him. Brando claimed he had no intention to shoot, instead he just: “wanted to scare him.” It was later believed that Cheyenne might not have been telling the truth about the violence, as her mental state was not good at the time. Christian told the court, “I feel like a complete chump for believing her.”
As prosecutors could not prove the murder was premeditated, he was not charged with first-degree murder and instead offered a reduced sentence in return for a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and spent five years in prison. During the trial, Cheyenne tried to kill herself twice during the trial and after losing custody of her son, she committed suicide.
8. Laura Bush
Laura Bush, wife of the 43rd President of the United States George W. Bush, was the First Lady from 2001 to 2009. The pair met in 1977 and married the same year. They had twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, in 1981.
When she was 17-years-old, Laura ran a stop sign and crashed into another car on November 6th, 1963. She knew the victim, he was her close friend and classmate 17-year-old Michael Dutton Douglas. Some reports even claim Douglas had been her boyfriend at one point but this was never confirmed. She was not charged for the incident and her spokesman later said, “It was a very tragic accident that deeply affected the families and was very painful for all involved, including the community at large”.
7. Lillo Brancato, Jr
Colombian born Lillo Brancato, Jr. is an actor best known for his role as Calogero Anello in Robert De Niro’s 1993 directorial debut, A Bronx Tale. He also portrayed young mobster Matthew Bevilaqua, in six episodes of The Sopranos. His acting career came to a halt when on June 10th, 2005, he was pulled over for having a rear brake light out and the arresting officer found four bags of heroin in the ashtray. He was charged with seventh-degree misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Possibly bitter over his initial arrest, he murdered off-duty police officer Daniel Enchautegui on December 10th, 2005. The officer heard glass break outside his home in New York City, when he went outside to investigate; he found Brancato and the father of his girlfriend, 48-year-old Steven Armento, breaking into a vacant house. The officer waited for backup, but a gunfight broke out and he was shot dead. Brancato and Armento were both arrested with multiple gunshot wounds and in a critical condition.
Brancato was on trial for second-degree murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison. On December 31, 2013, he was released on parole. He will appear in the upcoming movie Monsters of Mulberry Street due for release in 2017.
6. Oliver Stone
Movie director Oliver Stone is best known for JFK, Natural Born Killers and Nixon. He has also received three Academy Awards for his work on the films Midnight Express, Platoon, and Born on the Fourth of July.
In April 1967, when he was 21-years-old, Stone enlisted in the United States Army and requested combat duty. He served just under a year with in Vietnam where he was wounded twice. Stone said of the experience, “I thought war was it; it was the most difficult thing a young man could go through… It was a rite of passage. And I knew it would be the only war of my generation, so I said, ‘I’ve gotta get over there fast, because it’s going to be over.’ There was also a heavy streak of rebelliousness in the face of my father, and I think I was trying to prove to him that I was a man, not a boy.”
During his service he killed several enemy soldiers with a grenade and was part of more than 25 helicopter combat assaults resulting in the deaths of hundreds. His military awards include the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal.
5. Felicia Pearson
Felicia “Snoop” Pearson is an American actress and rapper who played a character of the same name in The Wire. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland, as a premature crack baby weighing only three pounds and not expected to survive. In 1994, she was working as a drug dealer at the age of 14, when she was convicted of second-degree murder for shooting a girl named Okia Toomer. She served six and a half years at Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup, Maryland.
Pearson finally turned her life around at the age of 18. Whilst serving her sentence, she heard her friend Arnold Loney, a drug dealer who sent her money in prison, had been shot and killed. After her release she met The Wire actor Michael K. Williams, who invited her on set. After auditions she was offered a role in the series. Horror writer Stephen King called her, “perhaps the most terrifying female villain to ever appear in a television series.”
Sadly on March 10th, 2011, Pearson was arrested for drug offenses during a predawn raid on her home in Baltimore, the DEA had been following the star for five-months as part of a secret operation. She spent a month in jail after pleading guilty to the charges and sentenced to a suspended seven-year prison term.
4. Phil Spector
American music producer and songwriter Phillip Spector helped produce the careers of The Ronettes, The Crystals, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Dion DiMucci, and the Ramones. He co-wrote the hit You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ alongside the Righteous Brothers, the record had most US airplay in the 20th century.
Then on February 3rd, 2003, actress Lana Clarkson was found dead in Spector’s mansion, known as The Pyrenees Castle, in Alhambra, California. Her body was in a chair, her broken teeth scattered on the floor and there was a single gunshot wound in the back of her head. Spector said the death was an “accidental suicide” after she had “kissed the gun.” He would have got away with the crime if his driver, Adriano de Souza, had not spoken out and claimed Spector told him, “I think I’ve killed someone.”
During his trial, the prosecution also heard Spector had previously pulled a gun on four women he was “romantically interested in, but grew angry after the woman spurned him.” On all the occasions he had been drinking heavily. He remained free on $1 million bail until May 29th, 2009, when he was sentenced to 19 years to life in the California state prison system.
3. Jayson Williams
American former NBA player Jayson Williams broke his right leg in a collision whilst playing against the Atlanta Hawks in 1999. He had to undergo career-ending surgery and on June 28th, 2000, after nine seasons and aged 32-years-old, he announced his retirement and quit his $90 million contract.
On February 14th, 2002, 55-year-old limousine driver Costas “Gus” Christofi had been hired to drive guests to Williams’ home in Alexandria Township, New Jersey, for an NBA charity event he was hosting. Witnesses claimed that Williams was playing with a shotgun during a tour of his 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) estate home when the weapon accidentally fired, killing Christofi.
In April 2004, Williams was acquitted of murder but charged with reckless manslaughter. He was also convicted of four counts of trying to cover up the shooting. He was sentenced to five years in prison but he only served eight months of his sentence.
2. Sid Vicious
Sid Vicious, was bass guitarist, drummer and vocalist in the British punk rock band the Sex Pistols. He joined the band in early 1977, but due to consistent drug use, Vicious was hospitalized with hepatitis whilst the band recorded their only studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks.
During his time with the band, he met his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, and the pair entered a destructive relationship of drug use and domestic violence. On October 12th, 1978, Nancy’s body was found in a bathroom with a single stab wound to the abdomen, whilst the couple were staying at Hotel Chelsea, New York City. Vicious was the main suspect in the murder case. When he was released on bail, his mother held a party for him, she had been supplying her son heroin since he was young, and on February 2nd, 1979 he died of an overdose before he could be convicted of murder.
1. Oscar Pistorius
On Valentine’s Day 2013, South African model Reeva Steenkamp was fatally shot by her Olympian athlete boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, after he mistook her for an intruder hiding in the bathroom. Steenkamp had been dating the South African Olympic and Paralympic runner since November 2010.
During the trial the jury heard that Pistorius had fired four shots through a locked toilet door, hitting Steenkamp, who was inside, three times. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel claimed that Pistorius had put on his prosthetic legs, walked across his bedroom to the bathroom, and shot Steenkamp with intent. Pistorius said that he had thought Steenkamp was in the bed, and that the person in the toilet was an intruder. Witnesses reported they heard shots fired, a woman screaming and then further shots fired.
Pistorius was sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison for culpable homicide which in South African criminal law is the negligent unlawful killing of another – the equivalent of the English and US manslaughter. Then in 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa overturned the conviction and Pistorious will begin a retrial this year for murder.