2020 true crime recap: Revisit the darkest stories from this year
2020 was rough. We can all agree that the last twelve months were filled with wildly unpleasant events, from global pandemics and racially-charged violence to political upheaval. It doesn’t end there. 2020 was also a year dominated by true crime cases.
In the interest of welcoming the New Year and doing away with the bad vibes of this dumpster fire year, we decided to recap the darkest crime stories that dominated the news cycle in 2020. Strap in, because some of these cases will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
George Floyd’s murder
George Floyd’s death was one of the most tragic occurrences of 2020. It was viewed as such a gross misuse of police power that the incident sparked protests across the globe, and heightened the already divisive state of America.
Derek Chauvin, the policeman responsible for Floyd’s death, was charged with second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was released on bail and his trial date is set for March 2021. That said, his actions will continue to serve as a stark reminder of injustice in the modern-day.
NXIVM sex cult
The NXIVM arrests were among the biggest scandals of 2020. Once thought to be a pyramid scheme, this organization was revealed to be a sex cult that allowed leader Kieth Raniere to brand women and coerce them into sexual submission.
Keith Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison for his crimes, and Seagram heiress Claire Bronfman was sentenced to 81 months for conspiracy. The most shocking part of the NXIVM cult is its association with noted celebrities like Smallville star Allison Mack and Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg. Chilling, to say the least.
You can learn more about the NXIVM cult by watching the HBO series The Vow.
College admission scandal
Celebrity privilege incarnate. The so-called “College Admission Scandal” was a racket where celebrities paid to have their children’s applications doctored so they could get into better colleges. It technically happened in 2019, but the fallout from the scandal carried into 2020, with actress Lori Loughlin bearing the brunt of public scorn.
The Full House star pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and received two months for her crimes. Loughlin may have served her time, but her gross misuse of privilege and wealth has left a bad taste in our mouths that will linger for a while.
Harvey Weinstein conviction
Harvey Weinstein’s crimes date back long before 2020. The Hollywood mogul has been hit with sexual assault accusations dating back to the 1990s, but this year he was finally punished. He began his prison sentence in March, and since then, he has contracted coronavirus twice. We aren’t really sure how.
Weinstein’s crimes are horrid, much like the rest of the stories on this list, but at least he has been punished to the full extent of the law. It’s reassuring to know that crime doesn’t always pay.
Tiger King crimes
When people look back at 2020, they will think of the Tiger King. The Netflix miniseries dominated the pop culture sphere, and much of this domination was due to wacko Joe Exotic. The breeder/crooner was arrested for his part in a murder-for-hire plot against rival Carole Baskin, but he did it with such verve that we couldn’t help but watch. It was like an eight-episode car crash.
Exotic’s colorful style and eccentric manner made him a meme overnight, but lest we forget that he committed heinous acts in the name of vanity. The same can be said for Baskin, whose dubious treatment of animals & involvement with the disappearance of her husband make her an equally despicable character.