A Year of Navel Gazing: The Virtual Orange County

Looking back at 2010 on our news blog, one Top 10 List at a time

A Year of Navel Gazing: The Virtual Orange County

Yeah, sure, we could have done what we’ve done in past years. We could have foisted upon you an end-of-year edition giving month-by-month blow-by-blows of select news goodness (and badness) plucked from the Weekly’s Navel Gazing news blog. But we wanted 2010 to be special because it caps a decade (or starts one, if you count that way). And 10 is a round number. And most of all, because we were sick of doing it the other way. So here, in David Letterman-style reverse order, in all their pot-smokin’, Octomommin’, dirty-coppin’, Ponzi-schemin’ glory, are 10 Top 10 lists for 2010.

10. Vanessa Bryant Wears “Do I Look Illegal?” T-Shirt to Lakers Game!

9. Lawrence Joseph Brown, Violent Rapist of Little Girls, to Be Freed—Pissing Off OC Cops and DA

Jesse Lenz
Jesse Lenz

8. How Chapman University’s Logo Got a Cameo in The Fourth Kind

7. State Bill Would Knock Possession of Less Than an Ounce of Marijuana to an Infraction

6. Debra Ayala Tapia, 38, Tapped by Teen, Having His Baby and Facing Charges

5. Michael Jason Wilson Tried as Adult for Facebook War That Ended in Bloodshed

4. People of the Park Focuses On the “Fashionably Challenged” of Disneyland

3. PHOTOS: Ariel, Belle and Minnie Like You’ve Never Seen—Burlesqueland!

2. Benny Hinn and Paula White Deny Affair

1. Benny Hinn Goes On Air to Counter Estranged Wife

*OC Register Reader Fustercluck of the Day, which is posted every weekday, collectively had enough 2010 page views to land in the top 10.

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10. Marco Rojo Nieto, a 36-year-old homeless, married father, was beaten to death on a busy Santa Ana street in July. Jorge Alejandro Lopez, 33, of Santa Ana, has been charged with Nieto’s murder.

9. After winning big at the Hawaiian Gardens Casino on Sept. 2, 55-year-old Chi Ngoc Bui of Westminster had his car cut off while driving in Santa Ana; he was then forced out of the auto and run over. Investigators say Michael William Ross, 26, of Long Beach, watched Bui leave the casino with his winnings and alerted Tad Allen Carroll, a 41-year-old transient, and Barbara Ann Hamel, 47, of Long Beach, to follow Bui home and rob him. All three have been charged with murder.

8. Tuyet Thi Huynh, 38, of Garden Grove, was holding cash as she walked up to a car parked at Russell Paris Park in Westminster to buy drugs. But when she reached the passenger side of the vehicle, the passenger grabbed the cash and the driver hit the gas. Huynh’s purse became tangled in the car, and she was dragged for about a mile through several streets before slamming into the pavement. Christopher Dai-Ichi Yu, 18, of Fountain Valley, and Lynn Ai Quach, 19, of Garden Grove, are up on murder charges.

7. The body of 26-year-old Santa Ana landscaper Hipolito Tapia Bravo was found hanging from a fence post in front of a South Baker Street apartment complex in Santa Ana in June. The condition of the corpse, the way the body was positioned and evidence found at the scene lead police to believe Bravo was strangled with a rope, then hung on the 5-foot chain-link post. No arrests have been made.

6. Donald Homer Shinkle, 80, was found dead and stuffed in his Garden Grove apartment’s bedroom closet in April. A neighbor had spotted Shinkle’s 50-year-old roommate, James Leon Howieson, driving the older man’s pickup, something Shinkle never would have allowed. With police closing in, Howieson blew off his own head with a shotgun in Westminster. Shinkle’s truck was nearby.

5. Randall Yancey, 40, waited for his estranged wife outside her parents’ Fountain Valley home one evening in November. After Theresa Yancey and the couple’s 8-year-old daughter, Madison, got out of the car in the driveway, Randall walked up and started arguing loudly with his ex. Relatives inside the home came out and escorted Madison inside as the argument continued. Randall then shot Theresa, killing her, and forced himself inside the home, where he shot and killed Madison and himself.

4. Wayne Zickefoose shot and killed his 39-year-old wife, Herminia, with a handgun in the back yard of their Anaheim home the night of June 13 before firing three shots into his 3-year-old son, firing at and missing his 5-year-old son, and then fatally shooting himself. Both boys survived. Money problems reportedly sent the Buena Park automobile-repair-shop owner and online-investing and theta-healing expert over the edge.

3. Richard Gustav Forsberg, 61, allegedly hit his college sweetheart in the head with a statue in their Rancho Santa Margarita home in February, killing her. He is accused of then telling concerned friends, neighbors and family members conflicting stories that his wife, Marcia, was visiting relatives in Arizona, that she had left him and that she was soon returning home to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Authorities believe he buried her in a fire pit at Lake Piru Recreational Area in Ventura County.

2. Bessie Mae Whyman, 84, was beloved at her former Bank of America workplace and in her Anaheim neighborhood. So it was shocking and repulsive that such a sweet old lady would be brutally raped, tortured and fatally stabbed by an intruder. Anthony Darnell Wade, 25, of Los Angeles, was arrested on suspicion of Whyman’s murder after being found in San Bernardino with the widow’s car.

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