It’s not unusual to see a famous personality dragged into court — we hear about celebrities getting into trouble for crimes related to drugs, drink-driving and anti-social behaviour all the time. However, the individuals listed below have gone even further and committed the unthinkable.
It might be hard to believe, but here are ten celebrities who have actually served time for killing someone:
See Also: 10 Celebrities with a Criminal Record
1. Don King
One of the most recognisable and controversial personalities in boxing, promoter Don King is best known for his association with some of the sport’s greatest champions, including Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. In April 1966, King beat drug-addict Sam Garrett to death over a $600 gambling debt outside a bar in Cleveland, Ohio. He was subsequently found guilty of second degree murder, but would serve just under four years in prison for his crime.
2. Phil Spector
Record producer, songwriter and creative director Phil Spector became famous for his collaborations with artists like The Beatles, Tina Turner and The Ramones, and his string of top 40 hits in the 1960s. But in April 2009, he was found guilty of the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson at Spector’s home in Alhambra, California. He is currently serving a sentence of 19 years to life at California State Prison, and will be 88 before becoming eligible for parole.
3. Duane “Dog” Chapman
Bounty hunter and TV personality Duane Chapman shot to fame when he became the star of A&E’s reality show Dog the Bounty Hunter in 2004. However, the “Dog” found himself in hot water for a different kind of shooting when he was convicted of first degree murder for his involvement in the death of alleged pimp and drug dealer Jerry Oliver in 1976. Following the conviction, Chapman was sentenced to five years in a Texas prison where he reformed and decided to devote his life to serving the law.
4. Felicia Pearson
Actress, author and rapper Felicia Pearson is best known for her portrayal of gang-member “Snoop” on HBO’s The Wire — a role for which she had adequate real-life experience. Having been involved in drug-dealing throughout her early teens, Pearson was convicted of second degree murder at age 14 for the shooting of Okia Toomer in Baltimore, Maryland. She was sentenced to eight years at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, of which she served just under seven.
5. Oscar Pistorius
Nicknamed “the fastest man with no legs”, Oscar Pistorius is a Paralympic champion and the first amputee to win a world track medal in able-bodied competition. Once considered an inspiration to both disabled and able-bodied athletes alike, Pistorius’ legacy was turned upside-down in February 2013 when news broke that he had fatally shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his home in Pretoria, South Africa. After a lengthy trial, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in prison.
6. Charles S. Dutton
Stage and screen actor Charles S. Dutton is best known for his roles in films such as Alien 3 and Menace II Society, and for his Emmy Award-winning performances in The Practice and Without a Trace. But in 1969, a teenaged Dutton was found guilty of manslaughter having gotten into a fight that resulted in the death of his opponent. He spent the next seven years in prison, where he discovered his passion for drama and kick-started his acting career.
Rapper and songwriter Corey Miller — better known by his stage name C-Murder — first rose to fame in the late 1990s with a string of gold- and platinum-certified albums. In August 2009, Miller lived up to his violent moniker when he was found guilty of second degree murder for the 2003 shooting of 16 year old fan Steve Thomas at a Harvey, Louisiana nightclub. He was subsequently sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment.
8. Huddie Ledbetter
Musical legend Huddie Ledbetter was one of the pioneers of the American blues and folk movements, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. But the man better known as “Lead Belly” also had a violent temper. In January 1918 he was found guilty of murdering a relative named Will Stafford in a fight over a woman, and was subsequently imprisoned. He was released in 1925, having served the minimum of his 7-35 year sentence.
9. Christian Brando
A film actor in his own right, Christian Brando is probably best known as the eldest child of his late, great father Marlon. In May 1990, the younger Brando fatally shot his half-sister’s boyfriend Dag Drollet, at the Brando family home in Beverly Hills, California over accusations that Drollet had been physically abusive towards her. In a heavily-publicized trial, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and spent the next five years in prison.
10. Rae Carruth
Professional football player Rae Carruth (real name Rae L. Wiggins) came to prominence when he joined the NFL in the late 1990s as a wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers. His career as an athlete came to an abrupt end however, when he was charged and convicted of conspiracy to commit murder for a shooting that left his pregnant wife Cherica Adams dead over her refusal to abort the child. He was sentenced to 18-24 years in prison for the crime, and is eligible for release in October 2018.
For some reason, it’s particularly shocking when a well-known name commits murder. Maybe it’s because they’re in the public eye, or maybe we feel that we somehow know these individuals personally, having followed every detail of their careers. Either way, the most important thing is that justice is served at the end of the day.