Top stories on ABC2News.com in 2012

In 2012 our readers clicked on things like Mega-Millions controversy, political issues, and news that impacted our community. Do you know which headlines were the most popular?

We're putting our TOP 10 most popular headlines in this article:

10) What is question 7?

If you live in the state of Maryland, you have undoubtedly seen or heard the commercials. Question is, what exactly is "Question 7?"

Question 7 is an effort to expand commercial gaming in Maryland. Lawmakers argue expanded gambling will raise revenue for education. A vote for Question 7 would be in favor of three attempts to expand gambling.

1) Authorization of table games

2) Increase from 15,000 to 16,000 allowable lottery machines

3) An increase in the number of video lottery machine operation licenses allowed in Maryland from five to six – allowing a proposed casino in Prince George's County. ( READ MORE

9) Wearing skinny jeans too tight can cause health problems

It's a fashion trend that we're seeing everywhere, at the mall, at work, and at school. We're talking about skinny jeans.

They can be flattering, but if you're not careful, they can also be harmful to your health.

Christine Barnabic is a fan of skinny jeans. She has a collection with various colors, various fabrics, but they all have a simliar look. She loves how skinny jeans can spice up her wardrobe.

Barnabic says, "You can wear the boots over them. It's really nice in the winter and even during the daytime you can wear them with flats or jazz them up at night."

But the one thing Barnabic doesn't love is how difficult they can be to put on. She says, "They can be hard to get on because you're trying to obviously pull them up."

Doctors say you have to be careful and really weigh the price of looking good, to the price of good health. If they're too tight, they can cause nerve damage.

Dr. Karen Boyle with GBMC says, "This disorder is called meralgia paresthetica and it's a disorder that occurs when one of the nerves that runs in the outer part of a thigh gets compressed. The pressure on it causes symptoms of tingling, numbness and pain in the outer part of the thigh."

Dr. Boyle says one woman described it as a floating sensation. She says that when she was walking. She felt weak and got pain in her thighs. The problem can be made even worse if your jeans are too tight, and you're wearing high heels. ( READ MORE )

8) ABC2 Investigation finds thousands of rejected/condemned gas pumps

We're now getting a bit of a break when we fill up.  But with gas still hovering around $3.50, you want to make sure you get what you pay for. 

So, how do you make sure?  ABC2 News is working for you with an investigation into the pumps that prove you're getting your money's worth.


SPECIAL SECTION | Gas Pump Investigation

Joe Eccleston is used to a warm reception wherever he goes.  He says, "When consumers see you at a gas station, they're always happy. 

He's one of 16 state inspectors with Weights and Measures and it's part of his job to inspect gas stations across the Baltimore area. 

He says, "I feel a little bit of job security because this is a necessity to make sure someone is out there making sure the consumer is safe."

Eccleston does those checks one station at a time, looking at meters inside and out and measuring gas to make sure you get your due. 

On occasion, he finds a pump that's not putting out what it should. ( READ MORE )

7) Train derails near Frederick Road in Old Ellicott City

ELLICOTT CITY (WMAR) - Police say that two 19-year-olds died in a Tuesday train derailment near Old Frederick Road in Old Ellicott City.

Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr, both of Ellicott City, have been confirmed dead. Nass' family says that she was going to be a junior at JMU this fall.

The crash happened at 12:02 AM on the historic bridge in downtown Ellicott City. Officials say the two were caught underneath coal as it spilled as a result of the derailment. The teens were reportedly sitting on a bridge near the tracks as events unfolded.

"It appears to investigators that the girls were sitting on the ledge facing east toward Baltimore County with their backs to the side of the train as as it passed a few feet behind them," officials with Howard County Police Department shared in a press release.

Officials say their causes of death will not be known until after autopsies are performed.


PHOTOS | View images from the scene

VIDEO | Watch video from crash site


"…Train cars with their coal fell on top of the vehicles."

-- Howard County Executive Ken Ulman

According to Howard County executive Ken Ulman, the CSX coal train was 80 cars long and 21 of them derailed near the bridge.

There were two locomotives pulling the train that was traveling from Grafton West Virginia towards Baltimore.

Coal was spilled over much of the downtown area, and there are still several overturned train cars in a public parking lot that need to be removed by heavy equipment. ( READ MORE )

6) Former TSA Agent from Baltimore County indicted on Federal Porn charges

BALTIMORE - A former TSA agent from Baltimore County has been indicted on federal child porn charges.  Michael Scott Wilson, of Perry Hall , was previously charged in Baltimore County on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography and was scheduled for trial in April.  But court record show those charges were dropped last week. 

Wilson's attorney, Robert Bonsib, says similar charges have been filed against his client in federal court.  A records search shows that in February, the 41-year-old man was indicted on two counts of possession of child pornography in U.S. District Court.   

According to court documents, Wilson was allegedly found in possession of a video, "depicting a prepubescent female engaged in masturbation and anal sex with an adult male".  Those same documents show Wilson was also in possession of an image of a naked teenage girl. ( READ MORE )

5) 3-Year old left behind at Chuck-E-Cheese

A 3-year-old was left behind at a Chuck E. Cheese's on Sunday.

The Harford County Sheriff's Office received a phone call at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday that a 3-year-old girl named Harmony was left behind at the Chuck E. Cheese's in Bel Air.

Employees noticed her when she approached one of them to ask for a drink.  Employees were not able to locate the parents or guardians in the restaurant. 

Harmony was taken to the  Harford County Southern Precinct after police waited with her for over an hour.

Her father was called to the precinct at around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday to pick her up. ( READ MORE )

4) Autistic 6th grader suffer videotaped beating at a bus stop in Cecil County

Disturbing video has surfaced of a autistic boy in Cecil County who is punched by another boy while other children watch.

The victim, Kaleb Kula, is a sixth-grader at Elkton Middle School.

"I knew I was probably going to get injured," he told ABC-2 News.  "I wasn't really scared because I knew what would happen."

Kaleb also said he's been the victim of bullying at school for years.  He's been diagnosed with a form of autism, along with attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder.

"At least kids that don't have special needs can defend themselves a little bit more. He's pretty much defenseless," said his father, James Kula.

During a typical day at school Kaleb says the other kids:  "Call me homosexual. They try kicking me, pushing me, punching me, and a lot of other things."

His parents say they've made dozens of requests for help.

"It's very stressful I mean you worry all the time, is he going to have a good day, are they going to do anything about when he has trouble with other students," said Kaleb's mother, Jessica Kula.

School officials declined to speak about Kaleb's case specifically, but they say offending children can be disciplined.  And they also bring parents together to discuss issues between students. ( READ MORE )

3) Road trips for sex with minor land alleged cougar behind bars

It all started out innocently enough with a pair of gamers flying make-believe bombers as part of the on-line game War 2 Glory.
    
But the 16-year old Florida boy dropped a real bomb on his parents when he disclosed he was having a real-life affair with a 39-year old Maryland woman.

"Florida law enforcement authorities obtained a warrant for Lisa Carroll from Joppa charging her with nine counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and one count of traveling to meet a minor," said Greg Shipley of the Maryland State Police.
    
According to investigators, Carroll and the teen moved beyond the video game to forming a relationship via Skype that became physical when the woman allegedly drove 800 miles to meet him in a Southwest Florida hotel.

The minor's parents intervened after they learned of the relationship, but they had no idea it had gone that far and that the couple planned on getting married.

"The information developed during the investigation is that there is apparently, at least on their part, an engagement between the two.  At least that's what they told investigators," said Shipley.

Much like the video game that brought them together, the bombs don't stop there.

When police showed up at Carroll's apartment to serve a warrant and to take her into custody, they learned she was married, and her husband learned of her alleged crimes and indiscretions as she was cuffed and led away. ( READ MORE )

2) Westport woman says Mega-Millions jackpot belongs to her

A woman who lives in Baltimore's Westport neighborhood believes she is one of three winners of the world-record Mega Millions jackpot.

Merlande Wilson is an immigrant from Haiti, and a mother of seven children.  She says she and her co-workers went in on a group of tickets, which she bought.

But she says the winning ticket was purchased specifically for her, separately, by another co-worker.

"I hope my ticket is right and I get the money," she said in an interview Monday night.  "I will help people I'm not going to keep it to myself I'm going to share no matter what. It's a lot of money," she said.

That tickets would be worth $218.6 million, or a lump sum payment of about $105 million.

But there is controversy.  Wilson works at the McDonald's on Liberty Road, and co-workers say she bought tickets for several of them.

"I didn't even check the ticket to make sure. I don't know why all this happened. I don't know who called the media. I don't know what's going on. I'm just in shock myself," she said.

She claims another co-worker went out to buy tickets again -- she gave him a dollar, and that dollar bought the ticket that she believes is the winner.

"I said buy only one dollar. And he bought one for five dollars, and one dollar. I said the dollar is for me," she said.

McDonald's Franchisee Birul Desai has urged the media to not jump to conclusions about the winning ticket until it is presented and verified.

"The media is reporting that a number of individuals associated with my restaurant allegedly contributed to a lottery pool for Friday's Mega Millions jackpot, and that a manager at my McDonald's restaurant could be a potential winner. This information has not been confirmed and is purely speculation at this time, said Desai. ( READ MORE )

1) Inside a Criminal Mastermind | Jason Scott

When it's out of your hands, when your life is at the mercy of an armed, masked man staring down at you from the barrel of a gun in your own home, you grasp at whatever it is you can control; breathing, composure or your faith.

"I just began to pray and quote the scripture, all of the ones that talk about protection and that kind of thing.  One of them told me to shut up and be quiet but I figured, if I am gonna die, I may as well die quoting scriptures."

Shirley and Delma Groomes were just two of the scores of victims in what some say is one of the most methodically wicked crime waves in this state's history.

Jason Thomas Scott is a case study in the modern criminal mind.

Educated, good looking and internet savvy he orchestrated a fear that paralyzed parts of Prince George's County for two years.

29 home burglaries, nine home invasions, and the sexual assault of a minor.

Scott is also indicted in the murders of mother and daughter Ebony and Delores Dewitt and currently named a suspect in the killing of mother Karen and Daughter Karissa Lofton along with Velma Butler

All of it undetected at first because if terror was Jason's assignment...he aced it.

"I think the scariest thing about him was that he took his craft seriously.  It was almost as if it was his profession.  He studied.  He would watch TV shows that focused on criminal forensics whether it was scripted television shows or reality based shows in which they talked about how police conduct their investigations.  And he used that information to help him in his criminal endeavors whether it was hiding his DNA by always wearing gloves, or turning off his cell phone and going so far as taking out the battery because he though that perhaps the police might be able to trace where his cell phone was at the time of any of these crimes," said ATF Special Agent David Cheplak.

Cheplak and other agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives would come to know the devil in Jason Scott's details.

Scott, who worked with an accomplice in many of these crimes made use of a database where he worked at UPS to target and gather information on his victims.

He would case homes and neighborhoods for days and when he struck, he was armed with not just guns but tools of his trade; a break-in kit to pop out small windows and cut phone lines, a scanner to monitor police while his crime was in progress, even flex cuffs.
The same tools he used to break into Shirley Groomes' home, drag her down two flights of stairs holding her at gun point.

"When you have absolutely no control over a situation, when you're totally helpless, it is kind of hard to describe but it's a bad place to be in," said Groomes.    

But it is exactly where ATF agents say Jason wanted you to be because your fear yielded not only stolen cash and possessions which he would divvy up at an abandoned home he called the spooky house, but also get a lead on other victims.

During one of the home invasions Scott found a picture of the victim's teen friend, cross referenced her name in the database and three weeks later hit her house, all for the purpose of sexually assaulting the minor while he photographed it because according to case records, he thought, "she looked nice."

Admissions of a suspected sociopath investigators would later call scheming, cunning and menacingly devious.

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