Trent Nelson

At the end of the year the Deseret News offers a list of some of the year's hottest stories and asks readers to rank them. But what readers looked at on DeseretNews.com tells its own story, providing a snapshot of what caught the eye and mattered most. Unlike a vote for the most important topic or continuing saga, it's an objective view of the individual stories that got the most views. And in 2010, these are the stories that drew the largest crowds.

10 Ronnie Lee Gardner's life ends with hardly a word
Trent Nelson

During an escape attempt at a Salt Lake City courthouse April 2, 1985, Gardner killed attorney Michael Burdell and seriously wounded bailiff Nick Kirk. He was on death row for more than two decades before facing the firing squad this summer.

9 Cheryl Maher says Kevin Garn lied about hot tub contact
Cheryl Maher

In March, Utah House Majority Leader Kevin Garn told the Legislature he'd been nude in a hot tub with a 15-year-old girl in 1985, when he was already an adult and married. That girl, now a woman, Cheryl Maher, disputed his claim that there was no sexual involvement and said they'd had a long-term relationship about which he'd paid her to keep quiet.

8 Top 10 things BYU students admire about the U.
Deseret News

Readers love lists and Utahns love rivalry, especially when it involved a sports match up between Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. But often, it's been sports without sportsmanship. Turns out there are things the schools really admire about each other. This is BYU's list.

7 A call for civility following Mormon Apostle Boyd K. Packer’s address
Deseret News

After controversy grew surrounding an address at General Conference by President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, this Deseret News editorial emphasized a need for civil dialogue and asked individuals not to rely on selective quotations and media interpretations of what the apostle said, but rather to read the talk itself.

6 America hasn't improved much over past 3 decades, Jimmy Carter says
Associated Press

In an interview with the Deseret News in advance of a visit to Utah to promote his book, "White House Diary," the former president noted that the United States was in almost complete harmony with most of the world during his administration. But from national politics to global relationships, there is now much room for improvement, he said.

5 Provo Tabernacle burns in four-alarm fire
Andrew Adams, Deseret News

A four-alarm fire ripped through the Provo Tabernacle Dec. 17, destroying the historic building, which is one of the oldest buildings in Utah. It took 15 years to complete. It was finished in 1883 at a cost of $100,000 and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

4 Affidavit reveals disturbing details of Ethan Stacy's last days
Michael Brandy, Deseret News

The body of Ethan Stacy, 4, was found in an Ogden canyon in May, hours after his mother and stepfather said he'd wandered. The pair, Stephanie and Nathan Sloop, have been charged with killing him. The story details abuse investigators believe the boy suffered at their hands in the days leading up to his death.

3 Mormon bishop fatally shot in California chapel; gunman killed
Sannar family

Bishop Clay Sannar, 40, was killed Aug. 29 in an LDS Chapel in Visalia, Calif., by Kenneth James Ward of Modesto, Calif. The gunman was shot and killed by police.

2 Martin MacNeill: Was his wife Michele's death accidental or was it murder?
Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

Michele MacNeill died unexpectedly 3-1/2 years ago in her Pleasant Grove home. Now the state Medical Examiner's Office has changed the cause of death from natural to "undetermined" and "suspicious," and Utah County investigators in an affidavit filed in 4th District Court say they believe she was murdered by her husband.

1 Elizabeth Smart's testimony in the trial of her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell
Jeffrey D. Allred

For hours, Smart told the jury in detail about her nine months in captivity and more readers read the transcript of her testimony at DeseretNews.com than any other single story in 2010.

When the trial was done, Mitchell was found guilty in federal court of charges he kidnapped and sexually assaulted her eight years after forcing the 14-year-old from her home at knifepoint.