Yesterday the world awoke to the shocking news that the girlfriend of international sports icon Oscar Pistorius had been murdered, and that the Blade Runner himself was being held by police. Today, of course, we know that he has been officially charged for the slaying, and that prosecutors intend to argue that it was premeditated.
Tragically, this is hardly the first high-profile murder case involving a professional athlete. Today we’re going to take a look back at some of the others. Some you surely remember, whether because they are extremely famous or because they just happened. Others you might not. Either way, each horrible case serves as a reminder that being famous and wealthy doesn’t solve all your problems.
Esteban de Jesús was a lightweight boxer who made a name for himself by becoming the first person to defeat the legendary Roberto Durán in 1972. And while he never did beat Durán again in two more chances, he did win the WBC's Lightweight championship in 1975. So all in all, it was a pretty successful career.
Sadly, life after boxing wasn't as successful. In 1981, de Jesús was convicted in his native Puerto Rico of killing a 17-year-old boy over a traffic dispute. Sentenced to life in prison, de Jesús contracted HIV and later died of AIDs in 1989 at the age of 37.
11. Estaban de Jesus
Robert Rozier was drafted by the St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals in the 1979 NFL draft. However, he only played in six games for Big Red before being released as the result of "drug issues," and from there it was all down hill. In 1982, Rozier discovered and became of member of black supremacist cult "The Brotherhood," which was founded by wackjob Yahweh ben Yahweh.
Unfortunately, to become a member, one had to murder a so-called "white devil" and bring a body part to the temple to prove it. Rozier met the challenge and then some—he eventually confessed to killing 7 white people in 1986 and was sentenced to 22 years in prison as part of a plea deal.
10. Robert Rozier
Mark "Gator" Rogowski was one of the biggest, most successful pro skateboarders of the 1980s. At one point, it's estimated that the guy was bringing in at least $14,000 per month from deck sales alone thanks to a sponsorship deal with Vision Street Wear—the equivalent of $30,000 a month in 2013.
However, in the early 90s, the "vert" style of skateboarding that made Rogowski a superstar in the sport declined in popularity, and thus so did his fame. This was the beginning of a downward spiral. First came a serious injury, then a conversion to Evangelical Christianity which led to his girlfriend of four years breaking up with him. After that came extreme alcoholism and obsessive stalking of his ex.
Yet it wasn't his ex-girlfriend that Rogowski murdered. It was instead a friend of hers, Jessica Bergsten, whom he hadn't seen in two years. She'd moved to San Diego in March of 1991 and phoned Rogowski asking him to show her around town. He did show her around town...then he clubbed her, raped her, murdered her, and buried her in the desert.
Rogowski eventually confessed and was sentenced to 31 years in prison in 1992. In 2011 he was denied parole.
9. Mark Rogowski
Football safety Sean Taylor was drafted 5th overall out of Miami in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. The guy looked like he was on track to become a huge star in the league, too, earning trips to the Pro Bowl in 2006 and rackign up 299 tackles, 12 interceptions, and 8 forced fumbles in just 55 games.
Sadly, Taylor was murdered in his Miami home in November of 2007 as part of a botched robbery. Five people were eventually charged with burglary and first-degree murder. One of them, Venjah Hunte, accepted a plea deal and was sentanced to 29 years in prison. The rest have yet to stand trial, as the date keeps getting pushed back. The newest target date for the trial: April 16, 2013.
8. Sean Taylor
Steve McNair was a good quarterback, and he was extremely well-liked by his teammates and by football fans in Nashville. However, McNair also had a lot of secrets. Though married with 4 children, McNair kept a separate condo for himself which he used to "entertain" his 20-year-old mistress, Sahel Kazemi, for whom he had also purchased a Cadillac Escalade.
Apparently Kazemi was unstable and upset that McNair would not leave his wife, because on July 4, 2009, she shot him four times and killed him, then took her own life. She had purchased the murder weapon from a convicted murderer she'd met while trying to sell her Kia—which she no longer needed because McNair gave her the Escalade.
7. Steve McNair
In 1999, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth orchestrated the murder of Cherica Adams, a woman he had been casually dating and who was 8 months pregnant with his child.
Apparently upset that she refused to have an abortion, Carruth hired his friend Van Brett Watkins to murder her. On the night of November 16, 1999, as Adams was driving along a road near Carruth's home, he pulled his car in front of hers. Then another car pulled up beside hers and its passenger shot her. Then both cards sped away.
How do we know this? Because Adams didn't die right away. She was able to call police on her cell phone, and she told them what happened.
Doctors were eventually able to save the unborn child, but not his mother. Carruth and Watkins were then convicted of first degree murder, while the driver of the other car, Michael Kennedy, pled guilty to second degree murder.
6. Rae Carruth
It's still way to early to know for sure what happened on Valentine's Day 2013 at the home of Oscar Pistorius. There are reports that he thought his home was being invaded, and seeming to support these reports are others that say the shots were fired through a bathroom door. However, the police say there had been allegations "of a domestic nature" at the Pistorius residence before, and some neighbors have reportedly said that they heard noise before the shots were fired.
Regardless of what eventually happens to Pistorius, though, one thing is clear: his girlfriend, 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp, was shot to death in his home.
5. Oscar Pistorius
What can I say? The stories just keep getting more heartbreaking as we move along. Sometime between 7 and 8 a.m. on December 1, 2012, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, the mother of his 3-month-old daughter, in the bathroom of his home. He then drove to the Chiefs' practice facility next to Arrowhead stadium, told chiefs GM Scott Pioli what he had done, thanked him for him, asked him to take care of his daughter, and committed suicide.
Talk about a tragedy.
4. Jovan Belcher
There are a lot of theories as to what made WWE championship wrestler Chris Benoit snap. Some say it was brain damage. Others say it was roid rage. And others say it was depression brought on by a failing marriage.
It's unclear with of these was the real factor. All we know for sure is that, on June 22, 2007, Benoit murdered his wife, Nancy, and 7-year-old son, Daniel. Then, two days later, on June 24, he committed suicide with a weight machine. In Benoit's system were Xanax, hydrocodone, and an elevated amount of synthetic testosterone.
3. Chris Benoit
Did O.J. Simpson brutally murder his ex-wife Nicole Bown Simpson and her "friend" Ronald Goldman on June 12, 1994? Well, a jury of his peers said no after a criminal trial, but another jury of his peers said yes after a "wrongful death" trial in civil court.
What really happened? We may never know. But one thing is for certain: O.J. is in jail right now. He was sentenced to 33 years back in 2008 for armed robbery.
2. O.J. Simpson
Without a doubt, the most tragic and notable sports murder of all-time is the 1972 "Munich Massacre." At the Summer Olympics that year, a group of Palestinian terrorists known as Black September stormed the athletes' village and took 9 members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage, killing 2 others in the process. They demanded the release of 234 prisoners held in Israeli jails and 2 from German prisons, and after an 18-hour stand off they were told their demands would be met.
In reality, a rescue plan was underway. The terrorists and the hostages were being taken by helicopter to an airport where a plane was waiting to take them to an undisclosed Arab country. However, German police were in fact waiting to ambush them. The plan, however, was a disaster, and all 9 hostages were murdered before all but 3 of the terrorists could be killed.
1. Munich Massacre
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