JonBenet's parents: How an indictment became an "exoneration"

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JonBenet Ramsey. Again.
If you happened to tune into cable news or talk radio or any other variety of media late last week for the first time in fourteen or fifteen years, you might think things were stuck in an endless loop. There was that harpy Nancy Grace, grilling forensic whiz Henry Lee about the mysterious male DNA in a six-year-old girl's underwear. There was Peter Boyles, scourge of the local airwaves, yakking it up with Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman about small foreign factions and other weird details mentioned in the world's most peculiar ersatz ransom note.

Is somebody humming "La Macarena"? Is that Slick Willie in the White House, feeling our pain and ogling thong-snapping interns? What year is it, and how do we get out of this wormhole?

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John and Patsy Ramsey during one of their many television appearances after their daughter's murder.
Some sense of dislocation is understandable. The release of four musty pages drafted by a Boulder grand jury in 1999, accusing John and Patsy Ramsey of criminal conduct in the 1996 death of their daughter JonBenet, triggered a surge of fresh news stories and chatter about Colorado's most infamous unsolved murder. But the case has been out of the spotlight for so long, mired in a slough of compromised investigations, civil suits and nutty theories, that the pundits couldn't agree on the significance of this revelation.

On one hand, the release of the record simply confirms what relentless Ramsey reporter Charlie Brennan first reported last January in the Daily Camera: The grand jury had sought an indictment against the Ramseys for felony child abuse resulting in death, but District Attorney Alex Hunter refused to sign the paperwork, maintaining that his office didn't have sufficient evidence to prosecute JonBenet's parents.

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Michael Tracey, with John Mark Karr magnified.
The news left University of Colorado journalism professor and Ramsey apologist Michael Tracey, who's produced a series of shoddy documentaries defending the parents and serving up red-herring alternate suspects -- culminating in the 2006 arrest of bogus confessor John Mark Karr, a fiasco of epic dimensions -- scratching his head. "I have no idea what that means," Tracey told the Denver Post.

Ramsey attorney Lin Wood called the unsigned indictments a "historical footnote" with "absolutely zero" impact on the moribund murder investigation. He has a point; the statute of limitations on the charges has run its course, and it's not exactly news that the Ramseys were under Hunter's expansive "umbrella of suspicion" until he left office in 2001.

Yet if nothing else, the grand jury's inclination to indict John and Patsy Ramsey should bring under closer scrutiny the unprecedented "exoneration" of the parents offered by Hunter's successor, Mary Lacy.

Continue for more about the supposed exoneration of JonBenet Ramsey's parents.



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9 comments
vcuttolo
vcuttolo

Leave them alone. There must be fewer things in life worse than having a child murdered & then being falsely blamed for it. I used to wonder abt Patsy, or the boy, & then I saw Steve Thomas getting shredded by John Ramsey on Larry King. Thomas & the Boulder PD were in way over their heads. Go read the excellent true crime book by Bill James. All 400 pages are worth reading, but the Jonbenet section just brilliant. The man knows of what he speaks, & has no dog in the fight. Book is called 'Popular Crime'.

mcaulif4
mcaulif4

Chief A. James Kolar, of Telluride, former head of the Ramsey investigation under Lacy said in an interview Sunday night that there were NO phone records available for the grand jury in the Ramsey case.  Steve Thomas wrote in his book that Trip DeMuth REFUSED to write search warrants for the police for CRUCIAL items of evidence such as phone records.  That, along with stalling to convene a grand jury for an unconscionable TWO YEARS makes the indictment against the Ramseys, that much more impressive.  I've never heard of a criminal case where the DA refused to obtain phone records.  Trip DeMuth went to work for John Ramsey's lawyer, Mike Bynum, after he lost to Keenan for DA in 2000 at Bynum's law firm, Chrisman, Bynum and Johnson. 

mcaulif4
mcaulif4

Chief A. James Kolar, of Telluride, former head of the Ramsey investigation under Lacy said in an interview Sunday night that there were NO phone records available for the grand jury in the Ramsey case.  Steve Thomas wrote in his book that Trip DeMuth REFUSED to write search warrants for the police for CRUCIAL items of evidence such as phone records.  That, along with stalling to convene a grand jury for an unconscionable TWO YEARS makes the indictment against the Ramseys, that much more impressive.  I've never heard of a criminal case where the DA refused to obtain phone records.  Trip DeMuth went to work for John Ramsey's lawyer, Mike Bynum, after he lost to Keenan for DA in 2000 at Bynum's law firm, Chrisman, Bynum and Johnson. 

travishenry
travishenry

I'm going to sound like a broken record, but Lacy's "exoneration" was also based on a U.S. district judge's examination of the evidence: http://www.examiner.com/article/evidence-jonbenet-ramsey-case-points-to-intruder . Your assertion that while Boulder police focused too heavily on the Ramseys while others seemed intent to vindicate them might be valid, but Judge Carnes had no dog in this fight. 
As a reporter who covered Boulder County crime for a long time, the two men I came to respect solely based on their track records were Steve Ainsworth, who solves decades-old cold cases for fun, and Trip Demuth. Neither one of them seemed to have a particular affinity for the Ramseys, but, as Carnes wrote, believed evidence pointed toward an intruder as the killer. But both of these guys aren't publicity hounds and instead let the evidence speak.  I have seen these guys solve and prosecute way too many cases to discount what they found by digging into the actual evidence as opposed to theories presented by peripheral characters shilling books or a public saturated by inaccurate tabloid articles and statements. Unfortunately Ainsworth and DeMuth seemed to be removed from the case because where the evidence was leading conflicted with where Boulder police wanted to go.

McShyster
McShyster

A cancerous death was Patsy's karma.



Scott R. Shriver
Scott R. Shriver

I've said it before, bet anyone anywhere $18 that any article of clothing they have on right now has "unknown" dna on it.

McShyster
McShyster

@travishenry ... utter nonsense.

No "small foreign faction" could have fit through that tiny window.


stupidstuka
stupidstuka

There is reason why not a single member of the DA's office where Trippy Demuth worked for 20 years had the confidence to vote for or endorse him when he ran for DA.

EPIC FAIL!

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