The Web Desk

Behind the scenes of GazetteXtra with digital content coordinators Andrew Reuter and Dave von Falkenstein.

Murder, Internet outage among GazetteXtra's top stories in 2014

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Andrew Reuter
Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tragedy is a common thread in four out of five of 2014's most popular stories on GazetteXtra. That is to be expected.

But the one story on this list that isn't tragic might surprise you.

The top stories, as measured by pageviews, were:

5. Woman's body found in Janesville; more could be coming, police fear

Date: May 5

Synopsis: Three incidents combined to make this one of our most-read stories: a near fatal stabbing, the murder of Britney Cross and the disappearance of Mary Coulthard.

Clayton Courtney, arrested in connection with the stabbing, told police he had killed three other people, officials said. Police took his claim seriously.

Today, Courtney is in custody facing charges of homicide and attempted homicide in connection with the stabbing and murder, but Coulthard's disappearance was found to be unrelated. Her body was pulled from the Rock River on May 9. The cause of death was drowning. No other deaths have been connected to Courtney.

4. Illinois man arrested in Janesville motorcycle deaths

Date: April 25

Synopsis: This story was an update to a hit-and-run crash that claimed the lives of two Janesville motorcyclists.

Sambath Pal of Illinois was arrested and charged in the deaths of Mitchell J. Vance, 24, and Devin J. Julius, 18, both of Janesville.

Court records later revealed that Pal's father turned him in.

“He kept telling us he thought he had to be a good citizen, and even though it was his son, he had to do the right thing,” Sheriff Robert Spoden said.

3. Anchor Inn fire cost put at $500,000 to $1 million

Date: Aug. 4

Synopsis: An early morning fire gutted the Anchor Inn, a town of Fulton bar with a structure dating to the 1860s. What remained of the building came down at the end of August.

Owners John and Dawn Kinnett at the end of November announced plans to rebuild. The new structure should be about triple the size of the old one, with wood and stone being used to remind visitors of the original building.

2. Charter Internet down Saturday

Date: Aug. 23

Synopsis: A Charter Internet outage affected customers across the U.S., including southern Wisconsin.

The problem was so widespread that people calling Charter customer service got a busy signal.

Some Internet users have speculated the company was the target of a hacker attack, but Charter has stayed silent.

1. Driver, Infiniti SUV sought in double-fatal accident

Date: April 20

Synopsis: Investigators asked for the public's help in finding the driver of an SUV that struck and killed two motorcyclists in Janesville.

Law enforcement officials later credited stories such as this one with helping track down Pal, who eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of hit-and-run involving death. He was sentenced Oct. 1 to 20 years in prison.

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