Artists rendering of Charley Ross
On December 14, 1874, a botched burglary attempt at the home of wealthy New Yorker Holmes Van Brunt leads to the possible perpetrators of notorious child kidnapping. On July 1, 1874, Charley (then four years old) and his older brother Walter Lewis (aged five) were playing in the front yard of their family's home in Germantown, a well-to-do section of Philadelphia. A horse-drawn carriage pulled up and they were approached by two men who offered the boys candy and fireworks if they would take a ride with them.
On December 13, 1867, Irish terrorist, Michael Barrett plants a bomb at Clerkenwell Prison in London in an attempt to free fellow Irish political prisoners. The bombing killed 12 bystanders and severely injured many more. Barrett had positioned the bomb in a wheelbarrow outside the external wall of of the jail in the belief that it would bring down the prison wall and allow the prisoners to escape.
On December 12, 1989, Leona Helmsley, the "Queen of Mean," is sentenced to four-year in prison, 750 hours of community service, and a $7.1 million tax fraud fine for tax evasion. For many, Helmsley became the object of disgust and revulsion when she quipped that "only the little people pay taxes." Leona's husband, Harry, was one of the world's wealthiest real estate moguls.
On December 11, 2008, Bernard Madoff is arrested at his New York City apartment and charged with masterminding a long-running Ponzi scheme later estimated to involve around $65 billion, making it one of the biggest investment frauds in Wall Street history.
Frank Sinatra Jr.
On December 10, 1963, Frank Sinatra Jr., (who was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe, California, two days earlier) is allowed to talk to his father. He was abducted at gunpoint from his hotel room at Harrah's Casino on December 8, 1963 and taken to Canoga Park, an area of Southern California's San Fernando Valley. After the brief conversation between father and son, the kidnappers demanded a ransom of $240,000.
Former Beatle John Lennon is shot and killed by Mark David Chapman outside his apartment building in New York City on December 8, 1980. After committing the murder, Chapman waited calmly outside, reading a copy of The Catcher in the Rye.
Charles Brooks Jr.
On December 7, 1982, the first execution by lethal injection takes place at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. On December 14, 1976, Charles Brooks Jr., went to a used car lot and asked to test drive a car. The mechanic, David Gregory, accompanied him in the car. After Brooks picked up his accomplice Woody Loudres, they put the mechanic in the trunk of the car and Brooks and Loudres drove to a motel. There the mechanic was bound to a chair with coat hangers, gagged with tape and then shot once in the head.