WILKES-BARRE ‚?? Readers were mainly drawn to two types of headlines in 2012: the tragic and the irreverent.
A review of The Times Leader‚??s Google analytics showed a strong attraction to tales of loss as well as offbeat local and national stories.
A Sugarloaf Township couple admitted to allegations that they had sex with their Golden Retriever. Charges were filed in September claiming James Antonelli, 68, and his wife, Jennie Marie Moore, 48, had ‚??put themselves in danger by having sex with a dog who was not vaccinated.‚?Ě
In October, the couple admitted to the act and were resentenced to begin a sentence of 30 months probation following an earlier no contest plea stemming from child abuse allegations.
The story was the most read byline of 2012.
In another case of alleged animal cruelty, a Petersburg, Columbia County, man spent a weekend in jail after repeating an unusual offense.
Paul Ganter, now 45, told a counselor that he had molested a horse, a violation of his probation after previously having sex with 10 horses and a cow. Some of the prior activities had been filmed, according to reports.
Ganter was nearly finished with his original sentence in January when he told a counselor that he had committed the act again.
The hit-and-run death of 19-year-old King‚??s College student Rebecca McCallick attracted widespread attention. McCallick was struck by a pickup truck on July 24 along Hazle Avenue in Wilkes-Barre.
Prosecutors charged Daniel Loughnane, 40, of West Liberty Street, Hanover Township, with driving away from the scene of the accident. Loughnane surrendered Dec. 18 on a felony charge of accidents involving death. A preliminary hearing is scheduled on Jan. 3. The original report was the third-most-read of 2012. Follow-up pieces dot the top 100 bylines.
Jason A. Schilling, 18, died Dec. 1 in a one-vehicle crash on Carpenter Road in Dallas Township.
Schilling was a 2012 graduate of Dallas High School and had played on the school‚??s baseball team for three years. He was a two-year starter, said Dallas baseball coach Ken Kashatus.
‚??He was a gamer, he loved to compete. He was a well-liked kid in school in general. All the kids really liked him,‚?Ě Kashatus recalled.
The story of Schilling‚??s death rounded out the top six stories of the year.
A violent shooting in Plymouth that left three people dead ‚?? Bradley James Swartwood, 21, Nicolas Robert Maldonado, 17, and Lisa Abaunza, 15 ‚?? and critically injured Danny Maldonado, 19, was also among the most-read stories of 2012.
Shawn Hamilton, 19, and his half brother, Sawud Davis, 16, allegedly shot and killed the young men and the teen girl during a drug deal involving marijuana and heroin, according to state police.
In December, prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty for Hamilton, while attorneys for Davis will seek to have his case heard in juvenile court because of his age. The story detailing charges against the men was the eighth-most read this year.
A local woman alleged in a federal lawsuit that she was fired from a Moosic business for wearing a prosthetic penis to work.
Pauline Davis‚?? January lawsuit against J&J Snack Foods Corp. claimed she wore the prosthetic to work as a line inspector and informed some co-workers, who passed the information on to management.
The suit was voluntarily withdrawn by Davis in March, according to court documents.
Samuel Smith wasn‚??t about to become another robbery victim. In March, Smith, a security guard who has a concealed weapons permit, said he fired one shot into the ground in March after two men allegedly approached him on Reese Street in Wilkes-Barre and ordered him to empty his pockets. The alleged would-be robbers ran.
‚??I never thought it would happen to me,‚?Ě Smith told The Times Leader in March. ‚??I‚??m glad I have a concealed weapons permit. It paid off. If it happens to me again, I don‚??t think I would think twice of using my gun.‚?Ě
Keeping track of a former county commissioner proved difficult earlier this year, but that didn‚??t deter readers.
Greg Skrepenak, who was incarcerated in September 2010 for accepting a $5,000 kickback as a reward for supporting a real estate developer‚??s entry into a program to delay payment of taxes on the project, was released to a halfway house on April 7.
By April 23, he was released to home confinement and working at a Kingston law firm. On May 3, the federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed he was returned to a halfway house. A voice mail message from Skrepenak‚??s father left with The Times Leader said he was ‚??taken back to the halfway house in Scranton‚?Ě after ‚??too much media coverage.‚?Ě
Skrepenak‚??s sentence officially ended on June 12.
While the Mayans had it wrong, the arrival of the end of days in 2012 seemed probable with a so-called zombie attack in Miami in May.
Rudy Eugene, often cited as the ‚??Miami zombie‚?Ě in headlines, was fatally shot by police during a brutal attack during which he allegedly chewed off part of Ronald Poppo‚??s face on the MacArthur Causeway.
The attack was captured by surveillance cameras outside the Miami Herald offices.