Excerpt #2 from sequin star #JonBenetRamsey

From the chapter…

Sexual Deviant or Just Deviant

Crimes and criminals, devils and deviants will always defeat logical inquiry, they will sidestep our attempts at nailing down forensics.  All can be covered-up, all can be concealed but never the cogent psychology it springs from, even when that psychology is evil incarnate.

It’s interesting that a week after JonBenét’s murder John’s reinforcing [on CNN] the assumption that there was a kidnapping, and he does so by invoking the note.  What’s also worth noting is Patsy’s response to the question.  Interviewer, Brian Cabell has asked John whether he thinks a kidnapping is the “wrong assumption” and John, invoking the note, seems to suggest that no, the idea of a kidnapping still makes sense.  What does Patsy think?  Is the kidnapping a wrong assumption?

From cnn.com:

PATSY [shaking her head]: It don’t sound like kidnapping to me. [John shoots Patsy a dark look].

JOHN: I guess that’s what concerns me because if we don’t have the full resources of all the law enforcement community on this case, I am going to be very upset.

It’s amazing how John already associates the idea of his concern with police resources around his assumption that it’s a kidnapping.  Isn’t this John already hedging an outcome where the police don’t think it’s a kidnapping, and John can then say, see, it’s because of the poor resources involved in this case.

The point is, a week after JonBenét’s murder, John’s focus is on defining the crime as a kidnapping.  There’s zero mention of “strangling” or of a “garrotte” or that JonBenét was tied up. There’s also zero mention of JonBenét’s head injury; that Little Miss Christmas was bludgeoned.

Meanwhile, the same day the Ramseys took CNN into their confidence, Boulder’s Daily Camera confirmed what they knew.

From dailycamera.com:

  • A handwritten ransom note was found at the house requesting $118,000.
  • Between 1:30 and 2 p.m. Thursday, an undisclosed family member found JonBenét’s body in the basement. Police ruled the death a homicide.
  • The autopsy revealed that JonBenét had been strangled.
  • There were no signs of a break-in at the house.
  • Many people – including multiple housekeepers, gardeners, caterers and a landscaper – had keys to the house.
  • Police collected blood, hair and handwriting samples from John Ramsey and his children. No samples were collected from Patsy Ramsey.
  • John Ramsey hired Denver criminal lawyer Bryan Morgan.

Now it’s clear early on that television audiences would have been aware of the kidnapping aspect, while readers of the local newspapers ought to have known JonBenét was strangled to death.

Steve Thomas presciently observes in his book, when he first learned of the crime at night over the radio while driving from Denver with his wife, he wondered why the kidnapper would leave a dead body behind when he could still get the ransom?  The Lindbergh case is a case in point where precisely this happened.  Why go to the trouble to break in, abduct, write your note but then leave the most vital part behind after she’s been immobilized?

Jumping ahead to the Ramseys’ second press conference on May 1st, 1997, the words: “kidnapping,” “abduction,” and “strangled” are now entirely absent from the Ramsey narrative.  What are present for the first time are the words “sexually molested” and John is…..

sequin star interrogates sixteen years of ‘post-truth’ surrounding the unsolved case.  This first narrative of the trilogy spans nine lawsuits, two books, John’s first political campaign and the circumstances surrounding Patsy’s death.  It also interrogates the psychological fabric holding these “sequins” together.

Available on Amazon



An Excerpt from sequin star #JonBenetRamsey

From the chapter…

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

 Deputy D.A. Mary Keenan said the body language of John and Patsy wasn’t suggestive of deception, and that men were not in a position to judge Patsy Ramsey’s demeanor. — Steve Thomas

What we see with Keenan is a logical psychology [a history of criminal behavior is logical] but it’s not applied with logical intuition.  Instead she leaps impulsively to suspects who suit her theory. She makes the same impulsive leaps in her intuitions because the original logic isn’t tied to the genuine fabric of the family dynamic.  McReynolds and Karr are two of the most implausible suspects for absolutely logical reasons, but Keenan is too blinded by her beliefs to appreciate this.

It makes me wonder to what extent the driving forces of this case are cancer and Christianity.  Lou Smit’s wife died of cancer and so eventually did Lou.  This coupled with Lou’s Christianity and the Ramseys’ Christianity set the stage for a marriage between investigator and suspect made in heaven [or perhaps instead of heaven, the safe haven of the District Attorney’s office, who knows?]

Were these same forces – driven by personal circumstances and personal belief – not driving the psychology of this case for people like Keenan?

From websleuths.com:

When [Hunter] left, Mary Lacy took over, and she was even worse. At least–according to Henry Lee and ST–Hunter would hear all sides. Lacy was like Paul Simon’s Boxer: hears what she wants to hear and disregards the rest. She refused to even SPEAK to the investigators who worked on the case during Hunter’s tenure. She made up her mind from Day One that since the Ramsey’s didn’t fit the standard profile, they couldn’t have done this.

She sounds a little like Lou Smit, right? Lou soon became a lone ranger on the case, and an outspoken one, and Keenan, in her own way, did the same.

If there’s any case where one’s own biases are going to transfer into how one sees the case it’s this one.  What’s our relationship like with our own family, with siblings, with our mother, our father, with strangers, with friends?  Those individual experiences will tend to inform our intuitions, but is that intuition coming from the case or from us?

“This is not a greenhorn…”

From forumsforjustice.org:

Coffman said, “At least from what she told me about it, she was basing her opinion on the Ramseys’ innocence on the fact that they don’t fit the profile of murdering parents. This would have been the summer of 2000 that I talked to her.”

Again, I think one has to be careful fitting the profile to the crime.  There’s a difference between a profile for a murderer and an accessory.  What is the profile for someone who habitually covers up?  What is the profile for someone who dresses up, choreographs, and manages a scene and a narrative in a certain way?  Does this profile of pageantry and “controlling the narrative” fit the parents?

But if Keenan grew reticent late in the game, that wasn’t always so.

From forumsforjustice.org:

Keenan… joined the Boulder prosecutors’ office in 1983 [and] was far from a silent bystander in the early stages of the investigation.

Over the course of three days from June 22 to June 24 in 1998 – following a major presentation by Boulder detectives to the district attorney’s office but before Hunter’s announcement that he would take the case to the grand jury – the Ramseys submitted to a second round of interrogations. Keenan made an impression on investigators at that time.

Because the Ramseys distrusted Boulder police – who they believed were fixated on them as suspects – John Ramsey was interrogated by veteran El Paso County homicide investigator Lou Smit and grand jury specialist Michael Kane, while Patsy was grilled by Denver district attorney’s investigator Tom Haney and Boulder prosecutor Trip DeMuth.

All interviews were videotaped and every few hours, completed tapes were transported from the Broomfield Police Department – where the interviews were conducted to avoid media attention – to Boulder, where they were studied by Boulder detectives and prosecutors, including then-Deputy District Attorney Keenan.

And so Keenan herself studied the interrogations [just as we have], and what did the smart, tough, practical prosecutor make of her careful study of the Ramseys? ….

Read more in sequin star now available on Amazon Kindle


JonBenet Ramsey Case: A Question About Lights

In the time between Officer French’s arrival at 6am and JonBenet’s body being found around 1pm, we know of four people (other than John Ramsey) that entered the basement: 1. Officer Reichenbach 2. Officer French 3. Fleet White and 4. Officer Weiss (to photograph)

French’s Report:  Page 3  Page 4  Page 5  Page 6

The lights were on when Fleet White searched the basement.

Who turned on the basement light?



Is this the Smoking Gun?

What nine year old Burke says is mind-blowing.  He tells the doctor he knows what happened to his sister.  He says she was hit on the head, and that’s how she died.

But why is that missing from the Ramseys’ book, and why did 29 year old Burke not mention this at all on Dr. Phil?

In Death of Innocence, when John discusses how Burke found out JonBenet was dead, he says:

 A while later when Fleet White brought Burke to the house, Patsy tearfully put her arm around him . “Honey,” she said, “JonBenet has gone to heaven.”

Burke essentially tells the same story when he talks to Dr. Phil in September 2016, as well as when he talked to Detective Schuler in 1998.  The only difference between his story and his dad’s is who told him the news.  Heres what Burke says to Dr. Phil:

“The next thing I remember is going to another one of our friends’ houses.  

Everyone was really sad over there and my dad came and told me JonBenet was in heaven now and I started crying.

January 8, 1997

BERNHARD: So what do you think happened?

BURKE: [Taking a game board and rubbing it against his head and face]:

I know what happened. [He laughs].

BERNHARD:  You mean when she got killed? How do you think that happened?

BURKE [Still covering face with board.]: Um, I think…well I…I asked my dad where

did they find her body and my, my dad said ‘I found it down in the

basement,’ and so…I, I think that someone took her very quietly and…

Took her down to the basement… [Burke is sitting back now and puts his game board on the table]

Curious that Burke says “they” when referring to his inquiry about where JonBenet’s body was found.  Who’s they?  And in a completely detached manor, he also refers to his sister’s body as “it”.


BURKE:…and he, and he took a knife out and he went whoops like that… I really… [making an overhanded punching motion with his right fist. He then puts his two fists under his neck and rests his elbows on the table].

Whacking somebody over the head is hardly a “whoops” but it’s fascinating that Burke adds that word in there to suggest the murder was probably some type of accident.  Is it normal to assume that somebody who broke into your home and killed your family member did it by accident?

BERNHARD [Interrupting Burke]: Mm-hmmm. Do you think that’s how she died?

BURKE: Or maybe a hammer, he hit her in the head with it. [Burke repeats the same hitting motion with his right hand, then resumes putting his fists under his chin.]

How did Burke know on January 8, 1997, that his sister had died from a head blow?  He certainly didn’t hear it from the news because the autopsy report wasn’t made public until July 14, 1997.  

How does Burke know?  Find out in Sequin Star, due out this month.


2016 was good to us

#Shakedown will continue working hard to unravel some of the highest-profile crimes in the world in 2017.

Nick and I started this venture into true crime writing in 2014 as two curious people on opposite ends of the planet trying to figure out who the other Oscar Pistorius was; not the one burbling in court, the other one.

In three years we’ve written thirteen books to that end, eight covering the trial as it unfolded, two covering the appeal [which we both attended] and three covering the sentencing [which Nick attended]. Did we succeed in exposing the Other Oscar?

In 2017 Nick will appear in a documentary that covers the unanswered questions that still linger in that case.  Unanswered questions are our specialty.  We believe with enough resolve, all can be brought to light.

What has surprised us as authors is just how much information is buried in plain sight, and further, how much more can be found when one scratches just below the surface.

We believe we’ve found a golden thread where many other narratives either simply rehash news stories or get lost in minutiae, or simply go off track following a tangent to its illogical conclusion.

“There is nothing worse for the lying soul, than the mirror of reality”..Steve Maraboli… The White Horse trilogy, (written with penetrating insight by Nick and Lisa) explodes into our consciousness revealing the reality of the tangled web of lies that remained after the trial of Oscar Pistorius … This tragedy is truly a mirror, blinding in its fractured and splintered reflections revealing the emptiness behind a mask… Brilliant!

In an incredibly short span of time, people from around the world have found value in our deep drilling interrogations.  Our aim has been to create authentic narratives, and to go further than the definitive accounts do in uncovering powerful insights and exposing the clear psychological patterns driving these cases.

Where others concede defeat, do we come up with brand new explanations that integrate all the data in a credible fashion?  Our readers have quickly become just as obsessed as we are with our thorough interrogations, and as a result, our work has been all consuming. It consumes our energies and our readers quickly become addicted to the “no holds barred” quality of it.

Our 20 highlights from 2016:

  1. #Shakedown published 18 books this year covering the cases of:  Steven Avery, OJ Simpson, Oscar Pistorius and JonBenét Ramsey.
  2. Nick added three more books to his popular series of mountain narratives with the release of Neverest II and III, as well as his narrative focusing on the tragedy at K I I.
  3. By March, our books regularly started making the bestsellers list.
  4. Juice, published on March 6, was a #1 bestseller consistently for more than 4 weeks straight.
  5. Ten of our books would go on to be #1 bestsellers by the end of 2016.
  6. On May 20, #Shakedown launched its website.
  7. On June 17, only one month later, we got 41,334 hits in a single day.   The story that inspired so many people to visit our site was the publishing of Reeva Steenkamp’s crime scene photos.  On June 16, Barry Steenkamp, Reeva’s father, pleaded with Judge Masipa to let the world see what Oscar had done to her.  He asked, we answered, and the world responded.
  8. Nick spent three days at the High Court in Pretoria for Oscar’s sentencing.  While there, Nick met privately with Gerrie Nel and Andrea Johnson to provide a tip. He also had a chance to briefly reunite with Barry and June.   From that experience, three additional Oscar narratives titled White Horse were conceived.
  9. Also in June, we collaborated with Beth Karas regarding Oscar’s manipulation of the crime scene.  That interview achieved over 1,000 views in just a few short days.
  10. Beth would join us again in the fall for a discussion about JonBenét Ramsey.
  11. Additional interviews and podcasts included discussions with Leonard Carr, Dr. Lillian Glass and the Mollett brothers.
  12. After months of research, on September 13, we published our first book on JonBenét titled The Craven Silence.
  13. Three weeks later, on October 5, the top news site in Australia interviewed us about our work on the JonBenét case.  Their article was then picked up by numerous other sites not only in Australia but also in New Zealand and parts of Europe.
  14. Since that time, we’ve published two complete trilogies on America’s most famous unsolved case – a total of six books with three more in the pipeline.   For both Nick and I, this case has been by far the most challenging, most emotionally draining, and rewarding thus far  In 2017, we’ll be visiting Boulder to bring you more on this story.
  15. Smack dab in the middle of our JonBenét work, Nick was approached by a producer he’d met in Pretoria back in June.  That producer will soon be completing a documentary about Oscar.
  16. Of the eighteen books published this year, two I haven’t mentioned yet are Nick’s solo works:  Hot Water, the story of Michael Phelps, and White Privilege, a fascinating and scathing interrogation of race in South Africa.
  17. To date, our most reviewed books are Deceit [67], Neverest [45], Audacity [44], Dark Matter [28], Fool’s Paradise [18] and The Craven Silence [18].  Recidivist Acts, which was an assemblage of both published and unpublished investigative magazine and newspaper articles covering Oscar Pistorius, has the highest average review rating of 4.8/5.
  18. On December 18th we reached a new milestone in Kindle pages read in a single day – 9964 pages read over a 24 hour period.
  19. Nick also signed an exclusive publishing contract for his Bloodline fantasy fiction in November 2016 with an American publisher.
  20. I’ll leave you with one more statistic.  I’m sure our loyal readers will appreciate this one.  The book that wins the award for most F-bombs goes to Juice.  Nick and I tore it up with a whopping 47!

We have a lot of really exciting stuff planned for you in 2017.  In addition to our continued narratives on JonBenét, Oscar and OJ, we’ll be tackling the upcoming murder trial of Robert Durst. robert-durst

Durst will be in court in Los Angeles early in the year, while CBS slugs it out in an epic $750 million lawsuit against Burke Ramsey.  The cases of Oscar Pistorius and Steven Avery are still ongoing.  And what is Jodi Arias up to?

If there are books you want to read that we haven’t written yet, leave a comment and perhaps we’ll bump some up or down the schedule based on your feedback.

A good year starts with a commitment from all of us to simply be better. Things change gradually and along a prescribed continuum.

Goodness –> Greatness –> Great Balls of Fire!

We hope our work continues to inspire you wherever you are on your road to greatness.