No place in America has experienced more tragedies than the American Criminal Court. The worst people are brought to public attention and must answer for their actions. As a result, bizarre, angry and cold images were often captured by cameras in courtrooms. Here are 10 cold photos and videos from American courtrooms. WARNING: Some of the images on this list are incredibly disturbing.
10. Chai Vang Showing the Court How He Did It
Mass murderers are usually shot by the police or commit suicide before they can be brought to justice for their crimes. However, this is not always the case, and sometimes mass murderers can be caught and brought to justice. This is the case of Chai Vang, who murdered six people in 2004 and attempted to murder two others in a treasure hunt. While trying to prove self-defense on the witness stand, Vang Coldy demonstrated to the jury how he held his rifle when he shot down the hunters and described his actions in detail.
When he was asked by the prosecution if his victims deserved to die, he replied that they did. Vang was convicted of murder, and the jury decided that the physical evidence, especially most of the victims who were shot in the back, superseded the conflicting testimony of the survivors and Vang’s claims of self-defense. When he was sentenced to life imprisonment, his only response was that he was grateful that he could live off the state’s hardships and no longer had to worry about child support or mortgage payments. He remains incarcerated to this day.
9. Manson Family Enters Court
The Manson family, in an attempt to start a race war in the United States, slaughtered nine people in July and August 1969, and the violence of the crimes, combined with the already existing public resistance against hippies, led to widespread public opposition to Manson and his co-defendants. Even President Richard Nixon called the family guilty, almost winning them a failed trial. Even more insidious were the attitudes of Manson’s co-defendants Susan Atcins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten.
As the three young women were led into the courtroom, they could be seen holding hands, singing a Manson song, and wearing clothes sewn by Manson family members. It is clear that they still had the belief that Manson was still protecting them, that manson was sentenced to death, later converted to life without parole, where he died in prison in 2017. Like Manson, his co-defendants were also sentenced to death, later to life imprisonment. Susan Atkins died of brain tumor in 2009, while Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinckel remain in prison despite multiple parole conditions.
8. Joseph James DeAngelo in a Cage
One of California’s most notorious mysteries was that of the Golden State Killer, a serial killer and rapist who was active from 1976 to 1986, when the murders mysteriously stopped. Many believed that the killer had been jailed or died for another crime, but after an analysis of the crime scene DNA in 2018, police led to a man named Joseph James DeAngelo. DeAngelo was arrested in 2018 after a break of decades. At his first appearance in court, DeAngelo was wheeled into court in a wheelchair, who appeared to be a sickly man.
In later appearances, however, he stood in a specially built cage near the defense table. While cages are common in countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom, they are almost never used in the United States because they are considered harmful. The fact that they were used at all indicates that decades after his alleged crime spree, DeAngelo is still considered a danger or a flight risk. The trial against DeAngelo is ongoing.
7. TJ Lane’s Shirt
The video above is incredibly disturbing; use discretion when viewing. On February 27, 2012, seventeen-year-old Thomas, “TJ”, Lane entered Chardon High School in Chardon Ohio, killing 3 students with a .22 pistol and injuring another 2. Lane initially fled the scene but was apprehended later that day. Lane later pleaded guilty to the charges against him.
At his sentencing, Lane took off his button-up shirt and revealed a white t-shirt with the word “killer” on it, similar to the one he had worn during the rampage. Later, when asked to make a statement, Lane simply said, “This hand that pulled the trigger that killed your sons is now masturbating in sanitation. Fuck all of you’ as she turns off the courtroom. This caused many of his victims’ families to break out crying because they were not prepared for such a ridiculous reaction. Lane was sentenced to life in prison without parole, and after a brief escape in September 2014, he was sent to maximum security, where he remains to this day.
6. Richard Ramirez Drew a Pentagram on his Hand
Richard Ramirez was not only one of the most feared serial killers in Southern California, but also a confessing Satanist and added satanic symbols at many of his crime scenes. Rameriz was captured in East Los Angeles in 1985 after his photo was published as a suspect in 13 recent murders. At his first appearance in court, when Ramirez was escorted into the courtyard, he flashed the spectators with his left palm where a pentagram was drawn.
He was soon found guilty of 13 murders and countless other violent crimes. Ramirez was sentenced to death in November 1989, and when he received his sentence, he told the court: “Big deal. Death always went with the territory.” He was sent to death row at San Quentin, but died of natural causes while on death row in 2013.
5. Robert John Bardo Singing Along to U2
In 1989 Robert John Bardo went to the house of TV actress Samantha Schafer, armed with a pistol and a copy of Catcher in the Rye. When Schafer answered the door because the intercom was broken, she was shot twice by Bardo. Bardo had been obsessed with Schafer after seeing her in the sitcom My Sister Sam, in which she starred in a leading role. According to Bardo, he was particularly obsessed with Schafer’s innocence.
That changed when he saw her in the film Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills, where she was in a sex scene that enraged Bardo and led him on his murderous path. In court, when the song Exit by U2 was played, Bardo started singing along violently in his chair. According to Bardo, the song told him his fate, in particular the line “Weighing Pistol heavily”, to which he sang along. Bardo was found guilty by a judge and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He remains imprisoned to this day.
4. Wonderland Murder Crime Scene Video
Although video evidence in a courtroom may seem like nothing out of the ordinary today, it was a revolutionary strategy first used in the 1981 murder trial of former porn star John Holmes. Holmes was accused of beating four people to death because of a drug feud in a house on Wonderland Avenue, right on the Hollywood Strip. The bloody footage upstairs was shown to the jury at a premiere for the American criminal justice system.
Holmes was eventually found not guilty, although the jury could not prove that Holmes was an attacker rather than an unhappy bystander, as he claimed. However, Holmes was found guilty of contempt of court and served a short sentence before his final release. He soon returned to the porn scene, even after being diagnosed with HIV, and was interviewed several times about the murders until his death from HIV complications in 1988.
3. OJ Tries on the Gloves
The OJ Simpson murder trial, also known as the trial of the century, the former NFL All Star OJ Simpson was accused of stabbing his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her boyfriend Ronald Goldman to death outside Brown’s apartment in 1994. In the 1995 trial, perhaps the most notorious moment besides the not-guilty verdict was when Simpson was ordered to try on a pair of gloves that had been found at the crime scene and were presumably worn by the killer.
The gloves did not fit Simpson, resulting in one of his attorneys, Johnny Cochran, telling the jury in his closing statement, “If it doesn’t fit, you have to acquit” and became one of the most famous lines in legal history. Simpson was acquitted in his criminal trial, but a later civil case found him liable for her death and sentenced to pay $33.5 million in civil penalties. Today Simpson lives in Las Vegas after being released from prison in 2017 on a robbery conviction. He continues to deny any involvement in the murders.
2. Dennis Rader Confesses
Dennis Rader lived a double life. On one side was the loving family man, decorated Vetran and civil servant. On the other was one of America’s most depraved serial killers, known only as BTK, Bind, Torture, Kill. For decades people in Wichita Kansas had lived in fear of the BTK killer, whose gruesome crimes as well as mockery of the police shocked the world. The sheer range of crimes, from 1974 to 2005, when Rader was captured.
When asked if he knew why he was under arrest, Dennis Rader replied coldly, “Oh, I have my suspicions, why?” In court, Rader gave a full account of his crimes and described them in a cold monotone voice, as if he were on trial for a traffic ticket or other minor offence. Rader was sentenced to 10 life sentences for his crimes committed before Kansas reintroduced the death penalty in 1994. He remains incarcerated to this day. …
1. Ted Bundy Losing It
Almost half a century after his death, Ted Bundy remains a symbol of pure evil, killing an estimated 30 young women, although investigators fear that the actual number may be higher. The photo above, taken after the jury recommended the death penalty, showed the world the real Ted Bundy.
Not the quiet charismatic law student who was involved in a criminal investigation, but a cold and calculating psychopath who, in an outburst of rage, removed any lingering doubt about his guilt. Bundy was finally sentenced to death and executed by the electric chair on January 24, 1989. Before his execution, Bundy made a full confession to his crimes and even confessed to murders he had never been connected to.
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