Earlier this month we launched a series on the crimes that become a media spectacle and soak up much of the public’s attention — even though they don’t have much long-term relevance for any of us. Society has the tendency to focus on what seems most traumatic instead of what is most important (say, regional murders over war for example), which is why we want to explore what makes these criminals hold our attention. Here is the next batch of crazy people.
Drew Peterson’s wife disappeared in October 2007 — and it made the national news because Drew was an Illinois police officer. That probably wasn’t what gave the story the right flavor to turn into an overnight sensation. It was more likely that we were attracted to the fact that his third wife was also murdered four years earlier. In 2009, Drew was charged with two counts of murder for both his wives. He was sentenced to 38 years in prison after being found guilty of the first wife’s murder, but then sweetened the deal with another guilty verdict in 2016 after he tried to hire an assassin to take out the prosecutor who put him in prison.
Police arrested Nathaniel Kibby, a man who had kidnapped, imprisoned, and sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl for nine months beginning in October, 2013. The trial demonstrated how Kibby had kept the young girl in a storage container until he became paranoid that the police were onto him — so he finally let her go, only to be arrested not long thereafter. He pleaded guilty in 2016 and was sentenced to up to 90 years in prison.
25-year-old Cheyanne Jessie was arrested for her parents’ murders within a day of reporting their disappearance. Investigators had discovered that Jessie had killed both in her father’s house nearly two months before she filed the initial report — but that she had transferred them to a storage container. Pro tip: they always find evidence when you move the bodies.