Colorado judge orders release of 2003 grand jury indictment recommending prosecution of JonBenet Ramsey’s parents for child abuse resulting in murder

Saturday, October, 26, 2013

Good morning:

I have a short post this morning on the JonBenet Ramsey case.

Even though her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, were cleared by DNA testing in 2008, a judge yesterday ordered the release of grand jury documents in 2003 establishing that the grand jury that investigated the case before they were cleared wanted to charge them with child abuse resulting in JonBenet’s death and hindering the police investigation.

The documents do not mention the evidence that led the grand jury to make that recommendation. As most of you know, grand jury indictments are based on probable cause, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The prosecuting attorney declined to charge the Ramseys citing lack of evidence to convict them of a crime.

The police have the DNA profile of the male who raped and murdered Jon Benet. Hopefully, that person’s DNA profile eventually will be added to the nationwide database of people arrested for felonies resulting in a match that will finally solve the unsolved crime. Unless that happens, there is little likelihood the crime will be solved.

Leanne Gregg, of NECN/NBC News reports this morning:

John Ramsey earlier this week asked the court to release the entire grand jury record, if the unprosecuted charges would be made public. But the judge ruled to release only the indictment, despite arguments it would further defame Ramsey and his late wife.

Patsy Ramsey died of cancer in 2006.

In fairness to the judge, I believe he declined to grant Mr. Ramsey’s request because the case remains unsolved. No statute of limitations exists in murder cases. Therefore, the investigation will remain “open” until solved. For that reason, the investigation must remain confidential and not subject to public disclosure under the State of Colorado’s public disclosure law.

24 Responses to Colorado judge orders release of 2003 grand jury indictment recommending prosecution of JonBenet Ramsey’s parents for child abuse resulting in murder

  1. Judy75201 says:

    @Malisha. Very interesting. At first I thought, WTF?, and then I remembered things like the paintbrush handle, the long handwritten note on their paper written in their house, and I realize that if they are not the murderers they HAVE to know who is.

    And the absurdity of this in the note: “The two gentlemen watching over your daughter do not particularly like you so I advise you not to provoke them.” (Of course, the entire note is an absurd attempt at misdirection.)

    • Malisha says:

      Remember, in the note, “Don’t try to grow a brain, John”? (Was that the father’s name? John? Something like that.

      Anyway, these people thought make-up stuff and play-acting should be dramatic and sarcastic and TV sounding. We removed ALL THAT STUFF that the parents had concocted before we began to do “rule-outs” on what happened to JonBenet (just like in the Fogen case, we RULED OUT whatever could NOT have happened). Anything that sounds TV did NOT happen. (“Don’t try to grow a brain” did not happen; “What the fuck’s your problem homie?” did not happen, etc.)

      Anything that jumps out as bizarre where a perfectly normal would work instead DID NOT HAPPEN. (Paintbrush handle did not get used by intruder — nobody would intrude for kidnap or murder purposes without his own implements; three-page rambling ransom note did not happen — ransom notes are not billet doux material or screenwriter ego exercises; etc. etc.)

      When you rule out whatever DID NOT HAPPEN you then work with the remaining “possibly did happen” and you narrow THEM down further by factual material that is not subject to manipulation. Then you use known situations to assess the probabilities.

      If they had thrown a dragnet around this case they’d have found a dozen “accessories” and from them, they would have come up with either a perp or a profile of the perp. I think he probably was a foreigner who has never returned to American soil (thank God for small favors on that one) so as to keep his DNA out of all possible banks. He’s probably a wealthy rapist who didn’t mean to kill her and wishes it was all just a normal Ten Grand Evening like the ones he had previously enjoyed.

      • Trained Observer says:

        You are onto something, Malisha. The pedophile network had some heavy hitters who moved quickly to muddy the things up on this “regular evening” gone wrong. Even the Boulder cops didn’t want to go there.

        • Malisha says:

          “Even” the Boulder cops had probably already “been there” and didn’t want to revisit. At least a powerful contingent of law enforcement worked AGAINST solving the crime. We who were trying to sift through un-hide-able data could see the traces of the vanished data as the glowing atoms lit up the screen…

  2. Malisha says:

    OK. Last night I didn’t get to post this, but here I am.

    The focus group was composed of about six cops, two or three doctors whose practice was in Public health Service clinics in “underserved areas” so they would not be seeing wealthy clients but they WOULD be seeing lots of child abuse injuries, and a handful of nurses who, in the health care world, have the most common sense because people TALK to them the most.

    The cops told me:

    1. Kiddie porn was, at that time already, NOT a college industry.
    2. BUT kiddie prostitution WAS.
    3. The “symptoms” of the Ramsey family would lead to the conclusion that they ran a kiddie prostitution ring.
    4. JonBenet having, at autopsy, a “healed sexual injury” up to 6 months old indicated either parental sexual abuse, “intrafamily sexual abuse” from an older male family member, or “stranger rape,” which was in the “most unlikely category.” Taken together with the other facts, however, a fourth possibility became most likely: a “customer” had raped her within 6 months of her death.

    Now the kind of operation they would have been running would have been VERY HIGH TICKET and would have also catered to people who could fly in and out of their area on private jets.

    We put all our 2’s together. We did not come up with any hypotheses.

    Later, on my own, watching the way the police handled it (including the fact that I sent them letters that had given them all the guesses that our focus group came up with) [ooops, ended a sentence-ling with a preposition — sorry], I came up with my own hypothesis.

    A customer from out of town and possibly out of the country was in town that night and wanted JonBenet. The parents arranged it and it took place in the house. His preference was strangling but he never did permanent damage before. JonBenet did not, however, want to go with him that night and she began a vigorous protest. (Neighbors across the street had heard screaming from many different voices earlier in the evening than the time of the death.) Her brother either heard or maybe even took part in the family argument. (As Patsy spoke w/the police in the a.m., his voice was heard in the background asking, “What happened to her?”) Then they managed to get her to go with the guy; she must have started to fight him and he accidentally killed her. Realizing she was dead, the parents arranged with the guy that he would disappear and they would take the heat; they knew forensics could not nail them for the actual murder. If the had allowed anybody to ever find him, the following would surely have happened:

    (a) Their prostitution ring would be busted in its entirety, knocking down several other high-ticket “managers”;

    (b) They would both end up on death row;

    (c) The perp himself would bust everybody he could possibly bust, who in turn would bust the various cops and prosecutors (and judges and legislators and federal, state and/or local officials) who had been paid off for years or who, possibly to probably, were actually in on the prostitution ring either as financial partners or as customers or both.

    (d) Etc.

    This stuff was BIG BUSINESS. Its marketing took place in the kiddie “beauty contests.”

    That’s all I have. I’m pretty well convinced of it and can’t prove a bit of it and never will be able to do so, either. I keep imagining that one day that brother will speak — unless he has become a perp himself, which is not unlikely considering the situation.

  3. can i ask why the dna evidence has not yet been put into the data base? Wouldn’t that be the easiest way to determine who the killer was?

    • C-S here on Fred’s screen. He is asleep for some reason! But, he will talk about this topic, he is really good on DNA> Tomorrow, likely.

    • The DNA profile obtained from evidence found at the crime scene would have been placed in the unsolved crimes national database.

      That is the standard procedure followed after a DNA profile is developed from evidence recovered at a crime scene (i.e, from an unknown individual) and compared to DNA profiles in the national database composed of DNA profiles developed from known individuals (i.e., new felony arrests and convicted felons).

      That procedure did not produce a match, so the DNA profile would have been placed in the unsolved crimes database.

      As new DNA profiles are developed from new felony arrests and convicted felons, they are compared to profiles in the unsolved-crimes database.

      What I meant to say was the case will not be solved until a DNA profile developed from new felony arrests and convicted felons (where the DNA profile is obtained from a known individual), matches that DNA profile in the unsolved crimes database.

  4. Judy75201 says:

    From Wiki: “A garrote made from a length of tweed cord and the broken handle of a paintbrush had been used to strangle her; her skull had suffered severe blunt trauma; there was no evidence of conventional rape, although sexual assault could not be ruled out. The official cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma.”

    The paint brush handle was Patsy’s. The note is bizarre, being written in their home, on their paper (3-pages long). That there was a rape at all is questionable. It’s a very puzzling case, but it seems beyond belief to me that they are innocent. I wonder if we will ever know?

  5. New Frog Gravy post up (by Crane-Station):

    Water runs downhill

  6. Malisha says:

    I have a theory about the case, developed when I was a lecturer for the Public Health Service on the subject of child abuse cases in the courts. I had presented a panel on “what the courts will and will not believe” together with a few doctors and some nurses; the room, however, was nearly all COPS! The JonBenet case was in the news at that time although the venue of the conference was on the East Coast. A few of the cops and a few of the medical folks asked me for a focus group the next morning at 7 a.m. so we met over coffee and gathered “data” about their cases, cases they had heard about, and “the” case.

    I’ll write this up tonight late or tomorrow some time because I’m on deadline right now. Neither parent killed the child, in my opinion, but they both know who did (even if they never got his real name) and the brother knew as well. Had they jailed the parents pending trial on endangerment charges and put the boy in foster care while proceedings dragged on for two or three months, all the information would have been available and accurate. The reason this didn’t happen was that there were plenty of people whose heads could have rolled if the parents were nailed for ANY CRIMES AT ALL.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      That seems really plausible, Malisha. I look forward to your next post.

    • @Malisha:

      I am awating your post anxiously! I always felt that the parents knew who murdered this precious, beautiful child. A ransom note written in THEIR home on THEIR stationery and the note listed how much JR received in a bonus?? How would anyone know that except JR and Patsy Ramsey? What killer takes the time to cover up this little girls body in a blanket?? How did JB end up in the basement and no one in the house see an intruder, or hear an intruder or their daughters screams, and why did the police direct JR to help search for his daughter and then JR made a direct beeline for the basement??? How did the killer exit the house or for that matter, get in?

      What inept police officers that town possessed! They are as bad as the Sanford Police Department! The entire home was contaminated by friends, neighbors and the family trampling all over the home! Why didn’t the police secure the scene?

      I also feel that if this family was not rich, prominent, and white, someone would have been arrested!

      • Malisha says:

        The police were not incompetent; they were deliberate.

        Had they locked up the parents for endangerment (very obvious after the autopsy!) they could have gotten the brother to turn state’s evidence in a few weeks or, at most, months.

    • Judy75201 says:

      I can’t wait to read this, Malisha.

  7. Two sides to a story says:

    It seems fairly clear that a third party is responsible for Jon Benet’s death.

    If there’s any culpability for the parents, it’s in allowing their child to participate in children’s beauty pageants. Don’t even get me started on those. What a pedophile magnet that appears to be!

    • Trained Observer says:

      Two sides — You raise a key point on the Ramsey’s having wrongfully positioned Jon Benet as a pedophile magnet. The hand-written ransom note was always an odd facet. I believe the parents knew a lot more than they ever admitted about what happened. Patsy may not have made it through the pearly gates, and I wouldn’t place bets on John’s eventual chances.

  8. Judy75201 says:

    I disagree that they were “cleared” just because they police said they were. The additional DNA was supposedly found on her clothing; no where else. I think the police just wanted to officially close the case and to take the blame off of their own inept investigation. (Inept police investigations are rampant, it seems.)

    The grand jury appears to have believed that one of them killed JonBenet, but they didn’t know which: “… [each] parent did render assistance to a person, with intent to hinder to hinder, delay and prevent the discovery…”

    • IIRC, John Ramsey moved the body upstairs from the basement. The police and neighbors contaminated the crime scene basically making it impossible to convict anyone except the person whose DNA/STR profile was obtained.

      Textbook case regarding what should not be done.

      However, there was no evidence any of that was intended to conceal the identities of the person or persons responsible.

      The theory that the parents aided and abetted the rape-murder of their child seemed far fetched to me and impossible to prove.

      I believe any competent and experienced criminal defense attorney could have won that case.

      • p deadder says:

        Mr.Leatherman says he believes any competent and experienced criminal defense attorney could have won the case.
        But if they were poor and had to rely on a public defender they most likely would have gone to prison it seems or not white.

        • Not necessarily. My first job, after graduating from law school and working 4 years as a law clerk for 2 appellate court judges, was with the Seattle-King County Public Defender (now called The Defender Association). Many of Seattle’s best criminal-defense lawyers worked there and I received some top-notch training and supervision from them.

          Some public defenders are very good. Colorado, for example, has one of the best capital defender offices in the nation. They pioneered the Colorado method of jury selection that consistently produced LWOP verdicts in death penalty trials for many years.

          Some are very bad, of course. Crane’s lawyer was the worst criminal-defense lawyer that I have ever seen or even read about because he actively assisted the prosecution to obtain a conviction.

          All state public defenders are overworked.

          Federal public defenders are excellent, for the most part. They have manageable caseloads and get paid much more than state public defenders.

          IMO, Judy Clarke is the best death-penalty lawyer in the country. She represented Susan Smith, the Unabomber and Jared Loughner. She now represents Djokar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bomber. She was the head of the San Diego Federal Defender for many years before going into private practice. Now, she serves on a select committee of death-penalty lawyers who provide resources and assistance to lawyers handling death penalty cases in federal court. She’s basically still a public defender, even though she’s in private practice, because she gets appointed to handle these super difficult cases. I doubt she has time to do anything else.

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