Unforgettable Scandals of 2005

Associate Living Editor
The Signal Online
Georgia State University

In 2005, the media world was an eventful arena, covering scandals with fascinating headlines and outrageously juicy stories for everyone to follow.

In mid-June of last year, pop king Michael Jackson was found not guilty on all charges that he sexually molested a 13-year-old male cancer patient and dodged accusations that he enticed the child with alcohol and intended to kidnap him. The jury deliberated for one week, despite some of the later revelations of Jackson’s guilt.

Currently Jackson resides in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain and has recently been sued by his Neverland Ranch veterinarian who claims that Jackson owes nearly $100,000 in charges related to the maintenance of Jackson’s zoo animals.

Bride-to-be Jennifer Wilbanks made national headlines when she darted across the country in an effort to escape overwhelming wedding preparations.

Wilbanks disappeared four days before her scheduled marriage to John Mason. After he reported her missing, he and their wedding guests began a massive search for Wilbanks.

After speculation that Wilbanks had a case of cold feet, the FBI announced that they were in the midst of a criminal investigation. Meanwhile, Wilbanks had

willingly ventured more than 1,500 miles, winding up in Albuquerque where she made a fallacious phone call to her fiance about being abducted.

After paying a fine to recover some of the city’s expenditures during her search efforts, Wilbanks is still performing community service as punishment for her bogus claims.

On the morning of March 11th, Brian Nichols, was being transported to court proceedings at the downtown Atlanta courthouse for a pending rape trial when he was able to acquire the firearm of his transporting officer and eventually killed 4 individuals. His victims included a courthouse judge, a court reporter, a sheriff’s deputy and a special agent over the course

of 24 hours.

Nichols traveled northbound, taking Ashley Smith into her own home as a hostage. She read to him, at least one of them experimented with ecstasy and she cooked breakfast before police surrounded the residence and Nichols peacefully surrendered the next morning. Later, Smith published a book recounting the ordeal and was accused of having a previous relationship with Nichols.

Nichols and his defense team are currently attempting to be granted a change of venue in order for Nichols to receive a fair and impartial trial.

Four months after being found guilty of murdering his wife Laci and their unborn son, Conner, Scott Peterson was sentenced to death on Mar. 17, 2005 by the same jury that decided his guilt.

It will likely be years before Peterson sees the death chamber since appeals are in the making. Peterson was also ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution expenses for Laci Peterson’s funeral.

Nearly two weeks after doc-tors removed the feeding tube that had been nourishing her for more than ten years, Terri Schiavo died from malnourishment on Mar. 31, 2005.

Schiavo’s husband supported the decision to remove the feeding tube while her family fought to the end to get a judge’s supremacy to keep their daughter alive.

The controversy awakened a clearly defined and passionate argument regarding the right to life, and whether immediate family members or spouses have the
right to decide the fate of a loved one.