D.C. corruption, DRC shooting among year's top crime stories

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Photo - Councilman Kwame Brown is questioned by reporters at City Hall in May. Brown later pleaded guilty to lying on a bank loan to buy a luxury boat.
Councilman Kwame Brown is questioned by reporters at City Hall in May. Brown later pleaded guilty to lying on a bank loan to buy a luxury boat.
Local,Crime,Scott McCabe,Corruption

Before getting settled into the new year, it's time to reflect on the Washington area's top law enforcement stories for 2012.

District of Corruption: Federal prosecutors took down two members of the D.C. Council, and obtained guilty pleas from a half-dozen political players, including top aides to Mayor Vincent Gray's campaign. D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown pleaded guilty to lying on bank loan to buy a luxury boat, while Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. ripped off taxpayer money meant for children's athletics.

Family Research Council shooting: A gunman carrying bags of Chick-fil-A sandwiches marched into the headquarters of a conservative Christian lobbying group in August, announced "I don't like your politics," and shot a security guard. Chik-fil-A had been in the news because of its president's stance on gay marriage. Floyd Lee Corkins II, 28, became the first person charged under the District's 2002 anti-terrorism statute.

Petworth hammer attacks: A series of random hammer attacks in the Northwest Washington neighborhood last spring wounded two people and killed a tourist from Denver. A teenage suspect was captured after a fourth attack. The 19-year-old was revealed to be the younger brother of NFL players Vernon and Vontae Davis.

U.Va. lacrosse murder trial: In February, former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V was found guilty in the 2010 beating death of ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love, a women's team player. Huguely, of Chevy Chase, was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

FBI Top 10: Eric Toth, a former third-grade teacher at Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School, landed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list in April. Toth, who disappeared in 2008 after authorities found nude photos of boys on his school-owned camera, took Osama bin Laden's spot on the FBI's top fugitive list.

'Ocean Doctor' mystery: Noted marine biologist David Guggenheim was barred from seeing his wife after she was found badly beaten in the couple's Kalorama apartment in April. As first reported by The Washington Examiner, Guggenheim ?-- who billed himself as "the Ocean Doctor" in appearances on "60 Minutes" and elsewhere ?-- said he wasn't the attacker and wanted to see his wife while she remained hospitalized. He has since been reunited with his wife and the case remains unsolved.

Swim coach child-sex scandal: In October, prominent Washington-area swim coach Rick Curl was charged with sexual abuse of a child he coached more than 25 years ago. The arrest came several months after the former pupil, now 43, came forward publicly with allegations that Curl sexually abused her beginning when she was 13 and he was 33.

Officers down: Prince George's County Police Officers Adrian Morris and Kevin Bowden were killed in separate car crashes. Morris, 23, was killed in a high-speed chase on the Capital Beltway in August. Weeks later, Bowden, 28, was killed on his way home in his cruiser. Neither officer was wearing a seatbelt.

Year of the traffic camera: The District raked in a record $85 million from traffic camera fines in fiscal 2012 and made plans to more than double the size of its network with an additional 134 cameras. Maryland counties are finding the cameras to be profit-makers, too.

Capitol Hill beating: Thomas Maslin, a 29-year-old solar energy analyst, was seriously beaten, robbed and found on a front porch near Eastern Market, putting the Capitol Hill neighborhood on edge in August. Police arrested a trio accused in a series of armed muggings.

The Joker: Days after the Colorado theater massacre in July, disgruntled Prince George's County resident Neil Prescott called bosses at Pitney Bowes and warned, "I am a joker, I'm gonna load my guns and blow everybody up." Prescott, 28, of Crofton, was charged with misdemeanor telephone misuse after prosecutors said there was no law in Maryland that makes it illegal to make a generalized threat over the phone.

South Capitol Street trial: Five men were found guilty in the 2010 shootings that left five young people dead and nine wounded -- and it all started over a cheap piece of costume jewelry. The heavily guarded trial featured more than 100 witnesses and 1,000 government exhibits. In September, the five killers were sentenced to life in prison or given sentences that will keep them behind bars for decades.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner