Former News Anchors Who Went To Jail

Journalists are supposed to report the news, not make it. But occasionally, TV news anchors find themselves on the wrong side of the story. In some cases, they've even been outed as hiding some seriously dark — and quite illegal — skeletons in their own closets, which also landed them on the wrong side of the law. Let's take a look at some former reporters who went to jail.  

​Don Tollefson

Don Tollefson was the longtime sports news anchor for ABC 6 in Philadelphia, a position that alongside notable local new personalities Jim O'Brien and Jim Gardner, made him part of "the holy trinity of Philadelphia local TV news," according to Delaware Online. For 15 years, Tollefson called ABC his professional home until he walked away from broadcasting in 1990 to pursue his well-known philanthropic efforts on a full-time basis.

But what started as a well-intentioned charity called Winning Ways, which Tollefson said was aimed at helping disadvantaged kids, eventually paved the way for a "sports-ticket-selling scheme" that scamming 96 victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. After being arrested "on felony and misdemeanor theft and charity fraud charges" in February 2014, Tollefson unsuccessfully represented himself in court and got slapped with a sentence of two to four years, starting in March 2015.

Upon his release in December 2017, Tollefson, who is also a recovering alcoholic, told NBC 10, "I was a one-person non-profit and I'm a terrible businessperson. I'm not saying my addiction caused this. I'm responsible for everything I did as a human being but I made some terrible financial decisions." He also said he now wants to open up drug and alcohol abuse treatment centers" in order to "speed up paying off the $165,000 in restitution" that he still owes his victims.

Vince Marinello

Hands-down the most shocking crime on this list has to be that of Vince Marinello, who wasn't technically a news "anchor" but most certainly a celebrated sportscaster. In 2009, Marinello was sentenced to life in prison following his conviction for the murder of his wife, Liz Marinello. According to NOLA, Marinello was found guilty of shooting his "estranged" wife in the face as she exited a "therapy session" in August 2006, possibly wearing a fake mustache as a disguise.  

Marinello, who called games for years for WDSU Channel 6 before pivoting to radio, has always maintained his innocence. In fact, he even attempted to pin his wife's murder on her ex-husband, Peter Caruso, whom Marinello alleged "had a motive" due to a "contentious custody dispute over their daughter."

The judge, who remarked that he "found [Marinello's] testimony unworthy of belief," wasn't swayed. As of this writing, Marinello has lost two rounds of appeals, although he could still pursue another at the state level before moving on to challenging his conviction in federal court.

Paula Lopez

Santa Barbara local news anchor Paula Lopez headed to the clink on July 22, 2016, as a result of a plea deal she struck relating to a September 2015 DUI stop that escalated into a physical altercation with police. According to the Santa Barbara Independent, Lopez was observed driving in the oncoming lane on Highway 101 before she was eventually arrested in a nearby parking lot. To say she did not go in quietly would be an understatement.

You need only look at the additional charges along with the DUI — "delaying an officer, battery on an officer, and one special allegation of refusing to take a chemical test" — to realize that this incident was a doozy. To complicate matters further, Lopez just so happens to be married to a former local judge, which raised the profile of this incident from noteworthy to truly scandalous.

In the end, Lopez was sentenced to three years probation with a "no alcohol use" condition, as well as mandatory attendance to weekly Alcoholics Anonymous classes and 120 days in jail, some of which "may be suspended," according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Uh huh. Never would have guessed that, considering the whole wife-of-a-former-judge thing.

Tolly Carr

Tolly Carr was a rising star in the local Winston-Salem news scene in 2007 when he made the fatal mistake of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. After driving into a construction zone, Carr struck and killed Casey Bokhoven, a 26-year-old pedestrian who was walking on the sidewalk. Carr refused a breathalyzer at the scene of the accident, but was later determined to have a .13 blood alcohol level after being forced to take a court-ordered blood test four hours later. After pleading guilty to "felony death by motor vehicle," Carr was sentenced to 25 to 39 months, of which he served the former.

Upon his release Carr returned to his broadcasting career, continued his court-ordered community service, and started paying back the undisclosed settlement he reached with the Bokhoven family, who sued him in a civil case. But Carr hasn't remained controversy-free since his prison stint.

In October 2013, Carr appeared in a local TV ad for a car dealership called Frank Myers Auto. What's the problem with that? Oh, just that the commercial was titled "Driving Dead," and was a Walking Dead parody that apparently likened old cars to zombies. Yeah. After some social media outcry, the ad was pulled, and Myers told the Winston-Salem Journal, "It was certainly not meant to be taken literally. With that being said, I can understand how Mr. Carr's appearance in the commercial could be considered offensive and in bad taste." Ya think?

Krystin Lisaius and Somchai P. Lisaius

Two former Arizona reporters made their own headlines in 2016 when they were indicted on charges of "possession of a dangerous drug, drug paraphernalia, and child abuse," according to the Tucson Weekly. The couple, Somchai "Som" and Krystin Lisaius, attracted police attention after they brought their unresponsive four-month-old to the hospital, where the child was found to have cocaine in her system. That's reportedly because Krystin breastfed her daughter after snorting cocaine at a family barbecue, thinking it would be fine because 12 hours had passed. Som also admitted to using the narcotic, which resulted in a search of the couple's home and a subsequent seizure of "nearly two grams of cocaine" as well as "several baggies of assorted sizes and a small black digital scale."

Fortunately, the child was expected to make a full recovery. Her parents copped a plea deal that enabled them to avoid the possible two years behind bars they were facing. According to the Daily Mail, this meant Mr. and Mrs. Lisaius skated by with "a year of probation and suspended 30-day jail terms." 

Why are they on this news anchors list if they never actually got put behind bars? Because we'd like to think that all current and future parents reading this will think twice before endangering an infant's life.