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?


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…”


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.


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

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