28 KILLER Hollywood Stars Charged with Murder or Attempted Murder
by Hilary Braaksma
We’ve all heard fame can go to your head, but can it turn your favorite celeb from superstar to famous killer? See if your favorite movie star, sports personality or music icon is one of Hollywood’s most dangerous celebs in this list of stars who’ve been charged with deadly crimes.
Famous boxing promoter Don King has been charged with murder not once, but twice. The first incident, which happened in 1954, was ruled justifiable homicide when he shot a man in the back while he was robbing one of King’s gambling houses. Then, in 1967, King was convicted of second degree murder in the beating death of a former employee who owed him $600. The charge was reduced to manslaughter during sentencing and King served four years.
William S. Burroughs
In 1951, novelist William S. Burroughs was charged with murder when he shot his wife, Joan Vollmer, in the head during a drunken game of William Tell that took place at their Mexico City home. After reporting to a Mexico City jail regularly for a year while his attorney worked to resolve the case, Burroughs returned to the U.S. In absentia, he was convicted of manslaughter in Vollmer’s death and received a two-year suspended sentence.
Snoop Dogg was charged with murder in 1993 in connection with the shooting death of a member of rival gang who was shot and killed by Snoop’s bodyguard. Because he was driving the vehicle from which the shooting happened, Snoop was charged with along with his bodyguard. Both were eventually acquitted.
In 1978, punk rock legend and famous killer Sid Vicious was arrested for the death of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, after she died of a single stab wound in their Manhattan hotel room. Sid died of an apparent overdose less than a year later while out on bail.
Dog the Bounty Hunter
Before Duane Chapman got famous chasing criminals as Dog the Bounty Hunter, he was the criminal. Chapman was charged with murder in the ’70s when he was present during his friend’s altercation with a drug dealer that ended in the dealer’s death. He was convicted of first degree murder in 1976 and sentenced to five years in a Texas prison, ultimately serving 18 months.
In 2009, after a long legal battle, music producer Phil Spector was given 19 to life after being found guilty of second degree murder in the death of actress Lana Clarkson. Clarkson was found in Spector’s home, dead from a gunshot wound, in February 2003.
In May 2005, rapper Gucci Mane was arrested and charged with murder after shooting at a group of men who entered his friend’s apartment and killing one. Prosecutors dropped the murder charge in early 2006 due to insufficient evidence.
While working as a drug dealer, The Wire star Felicia Pearson was convicted of second degree murder when she was 14, in connection with the shooting of another girl. She served six and a half years in prison.
Retired NFL player O.J. Simpson was charged with the 1994 deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and a waiter, Ronald Goldman, in one of the most publicized criminal trials ever. In 1995 he was acquitted of the murder charges, but later found liable for the wrongful death of and battery against Goldman and battery against Brown in a civil court case. Simpson was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages but has paid little of that.
Sons of Anarchy star and Katy Perry’s ex, Johnny Lewis, was found dead in his landlord’s driveway in 2012. It was discovered that before he fell or jumped to his death, he had broken into the home of his 81-year-old landlord, killing her and her cat.
Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez has most recently faced charges of shooting and killing his friend Odin Lloyd in 2013. But he is also connected with another 2013 shooting, a 2012 double homicide, and a 2007 Gainesville double shooting.
South African sprint runner Oscar Pistorius was charged with culpable homicide after the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013. She was shot through a closed door, and while admitting he shot Steenkamp, Pistorius claims he mistook her for an intruder. After being found guilty in September 2014, Pistorius received a prison sentence of a maximum of five years for culpable homicide as well as a concurrent three-year sentence for reckless endangerment surrounding firearm charges.
In May 2014, The Shield star Michael Jace was arrested and charged with murder after shooting his wife. Jace called police to report he had shot her, and later confessed again.
At 16, Mark Wahlberg was charged with attempted murder after attacking a middle-aged Vietnamese man and knocking him unconscious while shouting racial slurs.
Lillo Brancato, Jr.
In 2005, The Sopranos star Lillo Brancato, Jr. was charged with second-degree murder after being confronted by an off-duty police officer while committing a burglary. Brancato’s accomplice shot and killed the police officer. In 2008, Brancato was found not guilty of murder but the jury found him guilty of first-degree attempted burglary and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Ted Kennedy, the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy, served two months for leaving the scene of a 1969 accident after driving his car over a bridge into a tidal channel, and then leaving the woman in his passenger seat to drown. He escaped the car and left the scene of the crime. He didn’t contact authorities until after the woman’s body had been discovered.
In 2002, Actor Robert Blake was charged with the 2001 shooting and killing his wife Bonnie Lee Bakley, allegedly at the hand of a hired hitman. He was found not guilty of her murder in 2005. Also that year, Bakley’s three children pursued a civil suit against Blake and a jury found him liable for the wrongful death and ordered him to pay $30 million. Soon after he filed for bankruptcy.
Charles S. Dutton
Actor Charles S. Dutton was convicted of manslaughter after engaging in a fight at age 17 that led to the death of another man. He spent seven years in prison for that crime.
Former professional football player Rae Carruth is currently serving a prison sentence for hiring a hitman to kill a woman who was 8 months pregnant with his child and had refused to abort. The woman was shot and killed in 1999, but the baby survived after being delivered via emergency C-section.
Former pop-punk star Tony Lovato was arrested and charged with murder in 2007 after stabbing a man who challenged him to a fight over a mutual love interest. Lovato was later determined to have used reasonable force in an act of self-defense and the charges were dismissed.
In 1976, French singer and actress Claudine Longet was charged with fatally shooting her boyfriend, Olympic skier Spider Sabich, at his home in Aspen, Colorado. Because errors made by prosecutors left many pieces of evidence inadmissible, Longet was convicted of negligible homicide and only forced to pay a small fine and spend 30 days in jail.
In February 2010, former NBA star Jayson Williams was sentenced to 5 years in prison with a possibility of parole after 18 months after being convicted of aggravated assault in the death of 55-year-old limousine driver Costas “Gus” Christofi. After serving an additional sentence for DWI, he was released in April 2012.
Slick Rick, known as hip-hop’s greatest story teller, was indicted in 1990 on two charges of attempted murder after shooting at his cousin/former body guard and a bystander outside of a nightclub. He was indicted on two counts of attempted murder and plead guilty to all charges, spending five years in prison.
Rapper and reality TV star Flavor Flav was charged with attempted murder and spent 90 days in jail after shooting at a neighbor in 1993.
Rap music mogul Suge Knight was charged with murder in 2015 after committing a fatal hit-and-run following a disagreement that broke out on the set of N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton.
In November 2014, AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was arrested by New Zealand police and charged with attempting to procure a murder, threatening to kill, possession of methamphetamine and possession of cannabis. The charge that Rudd had attempted to hire one person to murder two others was eventually dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Celebrity chef and Food Network star Juan-Carlos Cruz is currently serving a prison sentence in California for soliciting three homeless men in an attempt to have his wife murdered.
In 2004, Canadian ice hockey star Mike Danton was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Danton plead guilty to attempting to hire a hitman to kill his agent David Frost and was sentenced to 90 months in jail. He was released on parole in 2009 after serving 63 months.