On January 13, 1939, Arthur "Doc" Barker is killed while trying to escape from Alcatraz Prison. Barker, of the notorious "Bloody Barkers" gang, was spotted on the rock-strewn shore of the island after climbing over the walls. Despite the fact that guards were ordering him to surrender, Barker continued tying pieces of wood together into a makeshift raft. As he waded into the water, the guards shot and killed him.
On January 11, 2012, Joran van der Sloot, a longtime suspect in the unsolved 2005 disappearance of American teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba, pleads guilty to the murder of 21-year-old Stephany Flores, in Lima, Peru. Flores was killed on May 30, 2010, exactly five years to the day after Holloway went missing while on a high school graduation trip to the Caribbean island.
On January 10, 1843, outlaw Frank James, the older brother of Jesse, was born in Clay County, Missouri. Frank and Jesse James were both legends in their own time, though Jesse is better remembered today because of his more dramatically violent death.
Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi aka "The Hillside Stranglers"
On January 9. 1984, Angelo Buono, one of the Hillside Stranglers, is sentenced to life in prison for his role in the rape, torture, and murder of 10 young women in Los Angeles. Buono's cousin and partner in crime, Kenneth Bianchi, testified against Buono to escape the death penalty.
On January 8, 2011, U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was critically injured when a man goes on a shooting spree during a rally outside a Tucson-area supermarket. Six people died in the attack and another 13, including Giffords, were wounded. The gunman, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, was taken into custody at the scene.
On January 7, 1901, Alfred Packer is released from prison on parole after serving 18 years for murder and cannibalism. One of the ragged legions of gold and silver prospectors who combed the Rocky Mountains searching for fortune in the 1860s, Alfred Packer also supplemented his meager income from mining by serving as a guide in the Utah and Colorado wilderness. In early November 1873, Packer left Bingham Canyon, Utah, to lead a party of 21 men bound for the gold fields near Breckenridge, Colorado. The winter of 1873-74 was unusually harsh. After three months of difficult travel, the party staggered into the camp of the Ute Indian Chief Ouray, near present-day Montrose, Colorado.