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- January 18 - End of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Hamas agrees to a temporary ceasefire with Israel.
- January 29 - Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich is removed from office on charges of corruption.
- March 19 - Josef Fritzl is sentenced to life in prison.
- March 31 - Benjamin Netanyahu is elected Prime Minister of Israel for the second time.
- April 3 - Binghamton shootings
- May 9 - Jacob Zuma is elected President of South Africa.
- May 18 - The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam surrender their arms to the Sri Lankan government. End of the Sri Lankan Civil War.
- May 29 - Phil Spector is sentenced to 19 years to life in prison for the 2003 murder of Lana Clarkson.
- June 5 - Zhang Yunliang sets fire to a bus in Chengdu, killing himself and 27 others.
- June 21 - The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is held for the first time.
- June 27 - The English Defence League is founded.
- June 29 - Bernard Madoff is sentenced to 150 years in federal prison for multiple counts of financial fraud.
- August 4 - Triad sub-boss Lee Tai-lung is ambushed and murdered by rival triad sub-boss Leung Kwok-chung.
- August 4 - 2009 Collier Township shooting
- August 14 - Lynette Fromme is released from prison.
- August 24 - Jaycee Dugard is recovered safe, at age 29, after spending 18 years in captivity.
- October 16 - Tomorrow's Pioneers is discontinued.
- November 5 – Fort Hood, Texas becomes the scene of the worst mass shooting at a U.S. military base when Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan opens fire, killing 13 and wounding dozens more.
- March 2 - Ahmed Abdallah
- March 10 - Michael McLendon
- April 3 - Jiverly Wong
- April 10 - Anthony Powell
- May 18 - Velupillai Prabhakaran
- July 4 - Sahel Kazemi
- July 28 - Yukio Yamaji
- August 4 - George Sodini
- August 4 - Lee Tai-lung
- August 20 - Ryan Jenkins
- September 24 - Susan Atkins
- September 30 - John Couey
- October 12 - Bruno Beger
- October 19 - Howard Unruh
- November 10 - John Allen Muhammed
- December 24 - Cesar Barone
- April 10 - Asia McGowan
- April 15 - Sarah Ludemann
- May 31 - George Tiller
- June 14 - Abel Tador
- June 25 - Michael Jackson
- August 15 - Jasmine Fiore
- October 21 - Elizabeth Olten
- December 18 - Victor Helu