The top ten stories of 2005 in Alabama:
1. HURRICANES: Katrina and Company strike while Alabama's beach resorts are still recovering from Ivan. With coastal Mobile County battered, thousands of evacuees from Katrina and Rita fill Alabama shelters, hotel rooms, FEMA trailers.
2. MISSING: Mountain Brook teen Natalee Holloway disappears on the final night of a senior class trip to Aruba. Her distraught family and friends are frustrated in their search for answers as a made-for-cable-TV mystery unfolds on the Caribbean island.
3. INNOCENT: Fired HealthSouth C-E-O Richard Scrushy is
acquitted of all criminal fraud charges in a widely followed trial in Birmingham. The jury acquits Scrushy despite a parade of former company officials testifying he led a two-point-seven (b) billion dollar accounting fraud at the medical services chain.
4. REMEMBERING CIVIL RIGHTS: Heroes and heroines of the movement
were recalled in memorials upon the deaths of Rosa Parks and Vivian
Malone Jones and the kickoff celebration of the 50th anniversary of
the Montgomery bus boycott.
5. GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION: Former Governor Don Siegelman is indicted along with Scrushy and two former Cabinet members as a government corruption probe moves from Birmingham to a Montgomery federal grand jury. Siegelman claims the latest charges are a Republican attempt to derail his Democratic campaign for a second
6. RUDOLPH: Serial bomber Eric Rudolph escapes a possible death sentence with guilty pleas to federal charges in deadly bombings at a Birmingham abortion clinic and downtown Atlanta's Centennial
Olympic Park. The unrepentant Rudolph's plea is accompanied by his
disclosure of hidden explosives in North Carolina mountains.
7. OFFICERS KILLED: Capital murder trials are held in the
killings of three Birmingham police officers and three members of the Fayette police department. Two defendants are sentenced to die in Birmingham -- after the jury recommended life without parole for the shooter -- and one in Fayette, where the "Grand Theft Auto" video game allegedly was a factor in the crime.
8. CANDIDATE: Ousted Chief Justice Roy Moore, two years after being expelled for refusing to obey a federal court order to remove
his Ten Commandments monument from the state courthouse rotunda,
mounts a campaign for governor in the GOP primary against Governor
Bob Riley, setting up a possible fight between the religious right
and business interests.
9. SERIAL KILLINGS: A death sentence is given to Jeremy Bryan Jones in the rape and murder of a Mobile County woman after his own statements lead authorities to suspect him in a series of killings
in several states.
10. SIX KILLED: A judge overrules the jury's recommendation of life in prison without parole for Westley Devon Harris, convicted
in one of the worst mass homicides on record in Alabama, the
methodical shooting of six members of his teenage girlfriend's
family at their rural Rutlege home.