How 9 Famous Acquitted Defendants Spent Their Lives

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Here’s how life shook out for a few acquitted defendants in high-profile trials.

1. Lizzie Borden

Although 32-year-old Lizzie Borden was never convicted of the 1892 ax murder of her father and stepmother, her highly publicized trial followed her for the remaining 34 years of her life. Borden became close friends with actress Nance O’Neill, but she lived out the rest of her life as a recluse. Although Borden remained largely out of public sight, mourners at her 1927 funeral remembered her as a quiet source of charitable donations. Her will certainly demonstrated her charitable streak; the largest earmark from her substantial estate was a $30,000 donation to the local Animal Rescue League.

2. Fatty Arbuckle

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Silent film actor and comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was one of the biggest stars in the medium’s early days, but his career flew off the rails in 1921. Actress Virginia Rappe fell ill at a party thrown by Arbuckle and died several days later, and the rotund funnyman found himself facing accusations of raping and killing the young woman. Arbuckle weathered two mistrials for manslaughter before being found not guilty in a third trial.

The trial may have legally cleared Arbuckle’s name, but the scandal all but destroyed his Hollywood career. Hollywood briefly blacklisted Arbuckle entirely, but even after the ban was ostensibly lifted he couldn’t find work. Meanwhile, his existing films were rarely shown. (Many prints of Arbuckle’s films have been lost.) Arbuckle eventually found work directing comedy shorts under a pseudonym before making an acting comeback with Warner Brothers in 1932. In 1933 he signed a contract to make a new feature film, but he died in his sleep the very same night.

3. O.J. Simpson

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The beneficiary of one of history’s most famous not-guilty verdicts saw his legal luck run out after a 2007 armed robbery in Las Vegas. Simpson was convicted on 10 charges related to an attempt to regain some of his sports memorabilia, and was sentenced to 33 years in Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Center. He was freed on parole in 2017.

4. Sam Sheppard

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Sheppard, a Cleveland-area physician (center), was convicted of the 1954 murder of his pregnant wife in their suburban home. Sheppard spent nearly a decade behind bars before a 1966 retrial acquitted him. After a brief attempt to return to medicine following his release from prison, Sheppard found an unlikely second career as a professional wrestler who went by the name The Killer before his death in 1970.

5. Claus von Bulow

In 1982 British socialite von Bulow was convicted of attempting to murder his heiress wife, Sunny, with an insulin overdose. However, this conviction was later overturned, and he was found not guilty in a 1985 retrial. (Jeremy Irons won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of von Bulow in 1990’s Reversal of Fortune.) In 1991 von Bulow returned to London, where he worked as an art and theatre critic. British newspaper The Telegraph ran his blog posts.

6. William Kennedy Smith

© Lannis Waters/Sygma/Corbis

The physician nephew of John F. Kennedy was accused of rape in 1991, but a jury acquitted him after a hugely hyped trial. Kennedy still practices medicine; he founded the Center for International Rehabilitation and works with patients who have been disabled by landmines.

7. Robert Blake

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The Baretta star was acquitted for the 2001 murder of his wife in 2005, but like Simpson, he was found liable for the death in a civil trial. The 2005 civil verdict awarded $30 million to his wife’s children, and in 2006 he filed for bankruptcy listing the eight-figure judgment as his biggest liability. Blake hasn’t yet returned to acting to fill out his bank balances, but has made autograph-signing appearances at memorabilia shows.

8. John T. Scopes

Scopes, the Tennessee schoolteacher who famously went to trial in 1925, was initially convicted of violating the state’s prohibition of the teaching of evolution and fined $100. However, his conviction was later overruled because the trial judge had set the fine rather than the jury. Following this decision, Scopes left Tennessee to pursue graduate studies in geology at the University of Chicago. He spent the rest of his life working as a geologist for oil and gas companies.

9. Casey Anthony

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In 2011, Anthony was found not guilty in the death of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee. Anthony has kept a low profile since her trial. In 2013, she filed for bankruptcy, listing $1,084 in personal property and $792,119.23 in liabilities. In 2017, Anthony gave her first interview since her acquittal. "I'm still not even certain as I stand here today about what happened," she said. "I don't give a s*** about what anyone thinks about me, I never will. I'm OK with myself, I sleep pretty good at night."

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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11 Fascinating Facts About Tamagotchi

Tamagotchi is the toy that launched a thousand digital pet competitors.
Tamagotchi is the toy that launched a thousand digital pet competitors.
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They blooped and beeped and ate, played, and pooped, and, for ‘90s kids, the egg-shaped Tamagotchi toys were magic. They taught the responsibility of tending to a “pet,” even though their shrill sounds were annoying to parents and teachers and school administrators. Nearly-real funerals were held for expired Tamagotchi, and they’ve even been immortalized in a museum (of sorts). Here are 11 things you should know about the keychain toy that was once stashed in every kid’s backpack.

1. The idea for the Tamagotchi came from a female office worker at Bandai.

Aki Maita was a 30-year-old “office lady” at the Japanese toy company Bandai when inspiration struck. She wanted to create a pet for kids—one that wouldn't bark or meow, make a mess in the house, or lead to large vet bills, according to Culture Trip. Maita took her idea to Akihiro Yokoi, a toy designer at another company, and the duo came up with a name and backstory for their toy: Tamagotchis were aliens, and their egg served as protection from the Earth’s atmosphere. They gave prototype Tamagotchis to high school girls in Shibuya, and tweaked and honed the design of the toy based on their feedback.

2. The name Tamagotchi is a blend of two Japanese words.

The name Tamagotchi is a mashup between the Japanese words tamago and tomodachi, or egg and friend, according to Culture Trip. (Other sources have the name meaning "cute little egg" or "loveable egg.")

3. Tamagotchis were released in Japan in 1996.

A picture of a tamagotchi toy.
Tamagotchis came from a faraway planet called "Planet Tamagotchi."
Museum Rotterdam, Wikimedia Commons//CC BY-SA 3.0

Bandai released the Tamagotchi in Japan in November 1996. The tiny plastic keychain egg was equipped with a monochrome LCD screen that contained a “digital pet,” which hatched from an egg and grew quickly from there—one day for a Tamagotchi was equivalent to one year for a human. Their owners used three buttons to feed, discipline, play with, give medicine to, and clean up after their digital pet. It would make its demands known at all hours of the day through bloops and bleeps, and owners would have to feed it or bathe it or entertain it.

Owners that successfully raised their Tamagotchi to adulthood would get one of seven characters, depending on how they'd raised it; owners that were less attentive faced a sadder scenario. “Leave one unattended for a few hours and you'll return to find that it has pooped on the floor or, worse, died,” Wired wrote. The digital pets would eventually die of old age at around the 28-day mark, and owners could start fresh with a new Tamagotchi.

4. Tamagotchis were an immediate hit.

The toys were a huge success—4 million units were reportedly sold in Japan during their first four months on shelves. By 1997, Tamagotchis had made their way to the United States. They sold for $17.99, or around $29 in today's dollars. One (adult) reviewer noted that while he was "drawn in by [the Tamagotchi's] cleverness," after several days with the toy, "the thrill faded quickly. I'm betting the Tamagotchi will be the Pet Rock of the 1990s—overwhelmingly popular for a few months, and then abandoned in the fickle rush to some even cuter toy."

The toy was, in fact, overwhelmingly popular: By June 1997, 10 million of the toys had been shipped around the world. And according to a 2017 NME article, a whopping 82 million Tamagotchi had been sold since their release into the market in 1997.

5. Aki Maita and Akihiro Yokoi won an award for inventing the Tamagotchi.

In 1997, the duo won an Ig Nobel Prize in economics, a satiric prize that’s nonetheless presented by Nobel laureates at Harvard, for "diverting millions of person-hours of work into the husbandry of virtual pets" by creating the Tamagotchi.

6. Tamagotchis weren't popular with teachers.

Some who grew up with Tamagotchi remember sneaking the toys into school in their book bags. The toys were eventually banned in some schools because they were too distracting and, in some cases, upsetting for students. In a 1997 Baltimore Sun article titled “The Tamagotchi Generation,” Andrew Ratner wrote that the principal at his son’s elementary school sent out a memo forbidding the toys “because some pupils got so despondent after their Tamagotchis died that they needed consoling, even care from the school nurse.”

7. One pet cemetery served as a burial ground for expired Tamagotchi.

Terry Squires set aside a small portion of his pet cemetery in southern England for dead Tamagotchi. He told CNN in 1998 that he had performed burials for Tamagotchi owners from Germany, Switzerland, France, the United States, and Canada, all of whom ostensibly shipped their dead by postal mail. CNN noted that "After the Tamagotchis are placed in their coffins, they are buried as mourners look on, their final resting places topped with flowers."

8. There were many copycat Tamagotchi.

The success of the Tamagotchi resulted in both spin-offs and copycat toys, leading PC Mag to dub the late ’90s “The Golden Age of Virtual Pets.” There was the Digimon, a Tamagotchi spin-off by Bandai that featured monsters and was marketed to boys. (There were also Tamagotchi video games.) And in 1997, Tiger Electronics launched Giga Pets, which featured real animals (and, later, dinosaurs and fictional pets from TV shows). According to PC Mag, Giga Pets were very popular in the United States but “never held the same mystique as the original Tamagotchi units.” Toymaker Playmates's Nano Pets were also a huge success, though PC Mag noted they were “some of the least satisfying to take care of."

9. Rare Tamagotchis can be worth a lot of money.

According to Business Insider, most vintage Tamagotchis won't fetch big bucks on the secondary market. (On eBay, most are priced at around $50.) The exception are rare editions like “Yasashii Blue” and “Tamagotchi Ocean,” which go for $300 to $450 on eBay. As Complex notes, "There were over 40 versions (lines) of Tamagotchi released, and each line featured a variety of colors and variations ... yours would have to be one of the rarest models to be worth the effort of resale."

10. A new generation of Tamagotchis were released in 2017 for the toy's 20th anniversary.

The 2017 re-release of the Tamagotchi in its packaging.
Bandai came to the aid of nostalgic '90s kids when it re-released a version of the original Tamagotchis for the toy's 20th anniversary.
Chesnot/Getty Images

In November 2017, Bandai released a 20th anniversary Tamagotchi that, according to a press release [PDF], was "a first-of-its-kind-anywhere exact replica of the original Tamagotchi handheld digital pet launched ... in 1996." However, as The Verge reported, the toys weren't an exact replica: "They're about half the size, the LCD display is square rather than rectangle, and those helpful icons on the top and bottom of the screen seem to be gone now." In 2019, new Tamagotchis were released; they were larger than the originals, featured full-color displays, and retailed for $60.

11. The original Tamagotchi’s sound has been immortalized in a virtual museum.

The Museum of Endangered Sounds is a website that seeks to immortalize the digital sounds that become extinct as we hurtle through the evolution of technology. “The crackle of a dial-up modem. The metallic clack of a 3.5-inch floppy slotting into a Macintosh disk drive. The squeal of the newborn Tamagotchi. They are vintage sounds that no oldies station is ever going to touch,” The Washington Post wrote in a 2012 profile of the museum. So, yes, the sound of that little Tamagotchi is forever preserved, should it someday, very sadly, cease to exist completely.