How John Ramsey Continues to Perpetrate a Fraud Upon the Public

By Juror13 and guest-blogger, Cottonstar

The battered justice system had creaked and shuddered, but it had worked!  We had not been indicted! People would have to finally see the jury’s decision as our vindication.”

– John Ramsey, Death of Innocence, 2000

That wasn’t the jury’s decision.  More importantly, John Ramsey knew that wasn’t their decision when he and Patsy co-wrote their book the following year.  That’s fraud.  Rather than saying we weren’t formally indicted by the DA, which is factually true, he chose to manipulate the narrative and instead say the jury – a group of their peers – vindicated them.  They did not.

One would think, now that the grand jury indictments are public knowledge after Judge Robert Lowenbach unsealed them in 2013, that John would be a little humbler with his responses regarding the jury’s vote.

When asked by CNN in September 2016 how he felt about being labeled an accessory to Murder via the indictments, his response:

“Really?  I didn’t know that. I don’t even know what that means, frankly.” – John Ramsey

Frankly, nobody’s buying it anymore.  In fact, Aphrodite Jones, who previously believed an intruder was likely responsible for the crime, spoke to Tricia Griffith on Websleuths Radio this week and said she’s since changed her mind.

aphrodite

In 2011, Aphrodite wanted to sincerely explore the intruder theory.  In support of her show, she interviewed John San Agustin, one of the Ramseys’ (multiple) private investigators, as well as John Ramsey in private [for three hours].  She describes San Agustin’s lengthy PowerPoint presentation, including crime scene photos, fancy slides about Touch DNA, and stun guns, as a “nicely wrapped present”.  Add to that Mary Lacy’s public exoneration letter to the Ramseys, and indeed it was a gift – for the Ramseys.  It worked.  It wasn’t until this past year that Aphrodite started to look at the case in more detail, partly due to some of the insights shared by the investigators involved in the CBS show. What she discovered was that there was clearly a diligent effort on behalf of Team Ramsey to distort the investigation.

mary-lacy

As Tricia pointed out, why wouldn’t you believe a DA; never before have we ever seen anything as outrageous as a DA “exonerating” individuals while a case is still open.  So at face value, one may be inclined to believe the DA had good reason to clear the family.

“I feel that I had been taken for a ride.” – Aphrodite Jones, October 15, 2017

Believe me, Aphrodite, you’re not alone.

In a People magazine article from December 2016, current DA Stan Garnett says then Boulder DA, Mary Lacy, jumped the gun on July 9, 2008, when, on the basis of DNA analysis from the crime scene, she issued a letter to John Ramsey stating “we do not consider your immediate family including you, your wife, Patsy, and your son Burke to be under any suspicion.  “When any district attorney goes around and starts issuing exonerations based on a particular piece of evidence, that can be very misleading to the public about the nature of the case.”

For 20+ years, the Ramseys have misled and bullied the public.  They’ve hypocritically sat down for interviews and documentaries, touting “the truth [will be] uncovered” while chastising so many others for trying to do the same.  Lin Wood, goes so far as to describe seasoned investigators who participated in the CBS show as playing “an acting role”.  Meanwhile, John is seen “acting” out his new life for the camera, walking on the beach, hand-in-hand with Jan, walking thru picturesque mountains, hob-nobbing with legal analysts. The narrative, I suppose, is that we should think John is a really swell guy.

jeanandjohn  johnandjan

Nevertheless, the public continues to dissent, and team Ramsey responds by suing somebody else.  The latest civil suit filed by John last month, brings us to at least twelve suits (on behalf of Burke and themselves) to-date, related to the case.

If you read through the Complaint, you’ll find, many of the central arguments are rehashed from suit to suit.   Their arguments are old and for the most part, consistent.  What’s far less consistent is what the Ramseys have uttered to the police, to TV and newspaper reporters, and written in their books, over the years.

Cottonstar, who’s vigorously investigated this case, and I, teamed up to analyze the Factual Allegations set out in John’s Complaint.

What is a Factual Allegation?  An allegation, of course, is a claim or assertion that somebody has done something wrong, typically absent of proof.  Factual allegations in a legal complaint have one purpose – to narrate a story.  If the Factual Allegations don’t satisfy each element of the complaint, the case faces dismissal.  John Ramsey’s claims, we feel, are flagrantly unsatisfactory.

Lin Wood recently told Westword during a Q&A that one of the central claims in John’s lawsuit is the accusation that John perpetrated a criminal cover-up of the crime [CBS asserts] committed by Burke.

Wood sells this as if it’s the most absurd thing he’s ever heard.  I guess, just like John, Wood kinda sorta forgot that a Grand Jury, after examining the evidence, also believed John may have committed a criminal cover-up [was an accessory to Murder] and wanted him to answer to those allegations at trial.  It would be nice if rather than completely and repeatedly evading the details of the indictment by moaning about unsophisticated jurors and ham sandwiches, somebody on Team Ramsey could actually, intelligently, address the following:

On or about December 25, and December 26, 1996 in Boulder County, Colorado, John Bennett Ramsey did unlawfully, knowingly and feloniously render assistance to a person, with intent to hinder, delay and prevent the discovery, detention, apprehension, prosecution, conviction and punishment of such person for the commission of a crime, knowing the person being assisted has committed and was suspected of the crime of Murder in the First Degree and Child Abuse Resulting in Death. – Count VII [A True Bill]

Since the statute of limitations for these charges has long since passed, it’ll never adequately be addressed in court.  All we can do now, for the time being, is address the fraud perpetrated by the Ramseys, with the help of their council, by pointing out their changing stories.

Note:  The complaint contains 141 Factual Allegations.  For purposes of brevity, we’ve addressed some of the most glaring contradictions and mendacious statements.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS & OUR REBUTTAL

  1. Twenty years later, with the crime remaining unsolved, Defendants stole the headlines and viewership by maliciously and falsely accusing John of covering-up Burke’s crime in their four-hour Documentary, which they promised would reveal JonBenet’s killer.

REBUTTAL:  Burke Ramsey’s interview with Dr. Phil was the first JonBenet special to air in September 2016, ahead of the other special programming, including CBS’s The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey.  Weren’t John and Burke Ramsey the ones to “steal the headlines” by jockeying to have their interview broadcast first?  Also, let’s not ignore that Dr. Phil and John Ramsey share Lin Wood as their lawyer and both men conveniently appeared on the show in defense of Burke, along with Dr. Phil – not exactly an impartial host – who defended Burke himself in Episode 3.  Making sure you’re first in line to share your story is indeed controlling the narrative, is it not?

  1. Both the judicial system and the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office have previously declared John’s innocence in the death of his daughter.

REBUTTAL:  While John may enjoy a presumption of innocence, considering the case never went to trial, a judicial system has not declared John innocent.

  1. Despite being fully aware of Judge Carnes’ order, Defendants ignored and did not disclose the Wolf Decision during the Documentary, including many of key facts and information cited therein in support of Judge Carne’s decision.

REBUTTAL:  First, the purpose of the CBS show was to investigate the homicide of JonBenet Ramsey, not to revisit a civil case filed by a journalist, presided over by Judge Carnes.  Second, see the first paragraph of this blog post.  The Ramseys repeatedly made public statements about the Grand Jury clearing them of all charges, when they knew that was a total fabrication.  When John and Patsy appeared on Connecting Point with Reverend Wayne Cordiero, on a show where John praised God and spoke of living a good and spiritual life, he not only lied, but threw in a joke for good measure when he said [at 7:25 in the video]: “Thankfully the system did work.  Obviously a grand jury looked at our case and said, No.  And [chuckling] I will always be available for jury duty now that I see how important it is.”

  1. On July 9, 2008, former Boulder DA Lacy relied on newly discovered [Touch] DNA evidence to officially exonerate the Ramsey family (including John) in an open letter released to the public. DA Lacy found: New scientific evidence convinces us that it is appropriate, given the circumstances of this case, to state that we do not consider your immediate family including you, your wife, Patsy, and your son, Burke, to be under any suspicion in the commission of this crime. [snipped]

REBUTTAL:   First, start with this article which talks about the efficacy of Touch DNA.  Then consider this…. From thedailycamera.com…experts said the evidence showed that the DNA samples recovered from the long johns came from at least two people in addition to JonBenet – something Lacy’s office was told, according to documents obtained by the Camera and 9NEWs, but that she made no mention of in clearing the Ramseys. The presence of a third person’s genetic markers has never before been publicly revealed. The presence of that DNA on JonBenet’s underwear and long johns, be it from one or multiple people, may very well be innocent; the profiles were developed from minute samples that could have been the result of inconsequential contact with other people, or transferred from another piece of clothing.”  And this is the rock-solid evidence Lacy used to declare this murder a “DNA case” and in turn, completely cleared the Ramsey family of any wrong-doing.

  1. In early 1998, former Boulder PD Chief Mark Beckner stated during a news conference that Burke was not involved in the killing of JonBenet, was not a suspect in JonBenet’s murder, and was not being looked at as a suspect.

REBUTTAL:   If they’re referring to the well-known, televised press conference by Becker, the date was actually Dec 1997, not early 1998.  Beckner says in December 1997, “one of the most important tasks yet to do is the re-interviewing of some family members, specifically Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey, and their son, Burke Ramsey. We have made a formal request for these interviews and do expect this to completed in the near future.”

“We have an umbrella of suspicion and people have come and gone under that umbrella.  They [the Ramseys] do remain under an umbrella of suspicions, but, uh, we’re not ready to name any suspects.”  When asked if Burke was a suspect, Beckner answered “At this time, we’re treating him as a witness.” The implication of that statement is not the same as “Burke was not involved in the killing of JonBenet.”

mark-beckner

When asked why they were calling the Ramseys back, Beckner also says “it’s been 6 months since they last spoke with them and “it’s not unusual to call people back and re-interview, especially in a case that’s this complex.  Also understand, it’s been approximately 6 months since we last interviewed the Ramseys During that time, there’s been a lot of investigation, we’ve uncovered a lot of new information, we have a lot of new questions, and, uh, they can help us answer those questions.  They are significant in this case and they have information that’s important to us.”

  1. In a sworn affidavit dated October 12, 2000, former Boulder DA Alex Hunter reaffirmed under oath that Burke had never been a suspect in the investigation into his sister’s murder. [snipped]

REBUTTAL:  From sequin star 2000-2006Alex Hunter didn’t devise this affidavit on his own. He was propositioned by Lin Wood on October 11, 2000, to sign an already written [by Wood] affidavit that would help minimize any future appearances by the DA’s office, including Hunter, in further Burke Ramsey litigation.  It’s important to note that Hunter didn’t automatically agree to sign what Wood sent him.  In fact, the portions of the affidavit that Hunter either revised or deleted are telling.  The following is the suggested Paragraph 6 that Hunter revised before signing:

“All questions related to Burke Ramsey’s possible involvement in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey were resolved to the satisfaction of the investigators and Burke Ramsey has never been viewed by investigators as a suspect in connection with the murder of his sister.”   And here’s what Hunter agreed to sign:

“From December 26, 1996, to the date of this affidavit, no evidence has ever been developed in the investigation to justify elevating Burke Ramsey’s status from that of witness to suspect.”  In other words, just because Burke wasn’t formally named a “suspect” doesn’t mean he wasn’t or hasn’t [or won’t be] investigated.  Hunter address this by deleting paragraph 9 and not replacing it.  Here’s the deleted text that he felt was necessary to remove before signing:

“from December 26, 1996 to the date of this Affidavit, Burke Ramsey has not been and is not at present, a suspect in the investigation into the murder of his sister, JonBenet Ramsey.”

  1. After the family returned home, John and Patsy put their children to bed and went to bed themselves soon after.

REBUTTAL:  In Linda Arndt’s police report, she stated: “JonBenet and her brother, Burke, went to bed shortly after the family returned home.  John Ramsey had read to JonBenet after she’d gone to bed, and before she went to sleepThis, reportedly, is what John told Arndt that morning.  Of course, he denies it, but Arndt doesn’t.  It was the last time John would mention reading in his narrative.  In all subsequent questioning, John never mentions reading again.

  1. Burke did not leave his bedroom during the night.

REBUTTAL to 112 & 117:  Burke said on Dr. Phil, in response Dr. Phil’s question about him sneaking out [that night] and going downstairs to play: “Yea. I remember being downstairs after everyone was kinda in bed.”

  1. John and Patsy checked on Burke, who appeared to them to be sleeping in his room.

REBUTTAL:  In Death of Innocence from 2000, and John’s book, the Other Side of Suffering from 2012, both John and Patsy claim to have gone to check on Burke, yet this is in contradiction to what Patsy stated in both her April 1997 and June 1998 interviews with police.  She says she didn’t check on Burke.

April 1997 Transcript:

TRUJILLO:  Right around the corner. Okay. When did you check on Burke during all this? You talked about John going to check on Burke.

PATSY:  Yeah. I think he ran and check on him when I was up, up there uh, you know, it just all happened so fast. I said, ‘Oh, my God. What about Burke?’ And I think he ran in and checked him while I was running back downstairs or something.

TRUJILLO:  Okay.

PATSY:  But I remember he, you know, I think he ran and checked on him and, and he told me he was okay or whatever.

TRUJILLO:  Okay. Was Burke still in the same bed? He hadn’t moved beds or anything like that?

PATSY:  I don’t know. I didn’t go in there and look.

June 1998 Transcript:

HANEY: Okay. Do you ever go up and check on Burke, you yourself?

PATSY: Oh, yeah. I mean, you mean like that or —

HANEY: This morning, the 26th. Let’s get you back there. We are still pacing around?

PATSY: Right. I don’t think I did. I think John said he was fine

  1. John opened the door to the Wine Cellar, turned on the light, and discovered JonBenet’s body.

This is also addressed later in John’s complaint with the following point:

  1. Defendants [CBS] knew and failed to disclose that John turned the light on before finding JonBenét as confirmed by John and the sole witness, Fleet White.

REBUTTAL:  John has no recollection of turning on the light, so he can’t factually state that he did.  From John’s deposition in Wolf v Ramsey, 2001:

HOFFMAN: When you opened the cellar door, can you describe with the best of your recollection today, what it was that you saw?

JOHN: I saw a white blanket and I knew immediately, I’d found JonBenét.

HOFFMAN: Had you turned the light on? Or.

JOHN: I don’t remember turning the light on (shaking head from side to side)

  1. The Ramsey home was not secure on the night of December 25, 1996. They had not turned their security alarm on, and at least seven windows and one door were found unlocked on the morning of December 26, 1996. A door from the kitchen to the outside was found open.

REBUTTAL:  In Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Linda Hoffman-Pugh, the Ramsey’s housekeeper, recalls a conversation with Patsy at the memorial service in Boulder:

“Who could have done this to JonBenét?” Patsy asked.

“I wish I knew,” I said. “Are you sure you had all the doors locked?”

Yes, we are sure.”

“Are you sure you pushed the button on the patio door?”

We had all the windows and doors locked,” Patsy said.

  1. A rope was found inside of a brown paper sack in the guest bedroom on the second floor.

REBUTTAL:  The rope was not found in a brown paper sack as proven by the questioning of John by Smit in June 1998.  The brown paper sack seen in the picture was a Boulder PD evidence bag, yet, Wood seems to be implying in his Factual Allegation that somebody carried this rope into the house in a bag.  The rope was found in John Andrew’s back pack (used for climbing/scouting activities – John Andrew, just like Burke, was a scout)

June 1998 Transcript:

SMIT: But he could have had things there in his [John Andrew’s] backpack?

RAMSEY: It wouldn’t have been out of the question.

SMIT: Just for the camera, the photographs we are looking at is photo 113, 114, 115 and 116. – (0535-24)

MORGAN: May I ask just one question. Can you tell us if this is the form in which it was originally found?

SMIT: No, that’s the bag it was put in for evidence.

MORGAN: So the paper bag is just in evidence.

SMIT: Evidence bag. And again that was just found in the room, and it was found in a bag in her room, that’s all I can tell you at this time.

  1. Small pieces of the material of this brown sack were found in JonBenét’s bed and in the body bag that was used to transport her body.

REBUTTAL:  Revisit point #170 above, and you’ll understand just how mischievous this is.  Yes, there were pieces of brown sack found in the body bag and in JonBenet’s bed because it’s from the evidence bags used to collect evidence at the crime scene – as is typical in all investigations.

JonBenet 3

  1. John and Patsy disclaimed ownership and knowledge of that rope.

REBUTTAL:  In Patsy’s June 1998 interview, she couldn’t seem to recall the rope, yet, the rope, or one identical, can be seen in numerous pictures taken around the home from various timeframes.

June 1998 Transcript:

PATSY: I don’t recognize it, specifically.”

DEMUTH: “Okay. And that, that particular piece of rope, do you ever remember seeing anything like it around? And if you look at photo 115, you notice the… ends are unusually secured… can you think of any reason to have that kind of rope around?”

PATSY: “I’ve just never seen ends like that, done like that. John had some, you know, boat ropes and things up at the lake, but it seems like when they cut those they kind of melt the ends of them or something to keep them from fraying or something. I’ve never seen one done like that.”

DEMUTH: “The kind of ropes you’re talking about that John used up there”

PATSY: “For the sailboat or”

DEMUTH: “Are they colored the same or similar?”

PATSY: “Well, some of them have like little blue flecks in them or red, or there’s some white ones, you know.”

DEMUTH: “Okay. Do you know what, what those are composed of? Is it a nylon-like that melts?”

PATSY: “Yeah, it must, something that melts, yeah. But it seems to me like they somehow torch the ends and kind of keep them from fraying. I can’t remember seeing any one looking like that.”

DEMUTH: “You don’t remember that being used anywhere in the house or yard or”

PATSY: No

DEMUTH: “Would you think that unusual to be found in the house?”

PATSY: Yeah, I mean, Burke had some ropes that he would play with through something out on the playground, you know, in that, in that picture yesterday the rope around the, the fort, you know, or something.” 

DEMUTH: “Right”

PATSY: “Always trying to make a boat or something like that.”

DEMUTH: “This was found inside the house”

PATSY: “Inside the house?”

DEMUTH: “In John Andrew’s room?”

PATSY: “Oh. Maybe it was a, some rope he used for camping or something, I don’t know.”

DEMUTH: “Did he have rope in his room that he would use for camping?”

PATSY: “…I don’t know. I just don’t remember seeing this specifically, and I don’t remember ever seeing a rope like that.”

DEMUTH: “Do you know John Andrew had a rope in that room?”

PATSY: “No”

410bat

  1. An unidentified baseball bat was found on the north side of the house containing fibers consistent with fibers found in the carpet in the basement where JonBenét Ramsey’s body was found.

REBUTTAL:  Burke on Dr. Phil: “They showed me a picture of the baseball bat like on the side of the house or something [referring to the black bat on the ledge]. That was my baseball bat.” And by claiming ownership of that bat – he then claims ownership of the basement carpet fibers on the bat as well.

  1. In 2013, it was leaked to the media that the grand jury had voted to recommend that John and Patsy be indicted by the Boulder DA for “commit[ting] a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation which posed a threat of injury to the child’s life or health” and for “render[ing] assistance to a person with the intent to hinder, delay and prevent the discovery, detention, apprehension, prosecution, conviction and punishment of such a person knowing the person being assisted has committed and was suspected of the crime of Murder in the First Degree and Child Abuse Resulting in Death.”

REBUTTAL:  The [unsigned] True Bill Grand Jury indictments weren’t leaked.  Charlie Brennan successfully filed suit in court requesting the documents be made public, citing the Freedom of Information Act, and the judge unsealed the documents.  Unsealed documents are public record.  To my point from the beginning of this post, it resonates that all Lin Wood can say about these extremely damning indictments is that they’re leaked, and even that’s not true.

We’ll leave it at that… for now… and will leave you with this thought from one of the [anonymous] grand jurors who voted to indict John and Patsy on four counts, collectively, in 1999.

“It’s still unresolved,” one juror said. “Somebody did something pretty horrible that wasn’t punished. I’m not saying that I am at peace. But I had sympathy with his (Hunter’s) decision. I could see the problem that he was in. I could understand what he was doing.”Daily Camera, 1/27/13

Why would a juror who spent over a year of their time considering the evidence be understanding of Hunter’s decision to ignore their vote?  What do the jurors know?

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Debunking the Intruder Theory

In order to exhaustively test the Ramsey’s Intruder Theory in the JonBenét Ramsey case, investigative journalist and true crime author, Nick van der Leek, dives into criminal archives around the world.  He highlights insights from five reference cases.

In the 1991 crime drama Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling, a rookie FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer finds herself stumped, and approaches the criminally insane but brilliant Hannibal Lecter for insight.  Using the aphorism, it takes a serial killer to catch a serial killer, Starling hopes the former psychiatrist might prove useful, and he does.

Lambs

Lecter memorably provides this piece of advice as a kick-start to Starling, quoting Marcus Aurelius:

“First principles, Clarice.  Simplicity…Of each particular thing ask what is it in itself?”

More than twenty years after JonBenét Ramsey’s murder, isn’t it time we got the obvious stuff out of the way? If the pervasive view on the ground in Boulder, right or wrong, is that there was no intruder, are we able to explain – even to ourselves – why that is? Instead of tooting the horn about the Ramsey’s potential guilt, what about removing the horn entirely?

We can only do that definitively when we apply first principles.  What is an intruder?  Do we know what a real intruder looks like? Do we know how they operate and why they operate the way they do?  Can we definitively explicate the difference between real world intruders and Ramsey world intruders?

The conventional approach by police and prosecutors tends to be to build one’s case using evidence and holding that up as a counter to other potentially bogus scenarios.  But what if investigators took up the same cudgel as the District Attorney’s office did in the late 90’s when they recruited Lou Smit.  Despite representing the prosecution, Smit’s ambit was to figure out a possible “defense” case.

What if police investigators in the Ramsey case investigated the Intruder Theory from a prosecutor’s perspective – but this time in order to debunk it on its own terms? By humoring the Intruder Theory at some length, it means it has to be tested against hordes of real intruders and real intruder scenarios. How does it stand up to that?

What happens when we hold the Ramsey Intruder Theory up to a prolonged and thorough scrutiny? How does it hold up?  By comparing apples with apples, we may finally see just how rotten the Intruder Theory is, as apples go.

Scenario 1: The Karla Brown Case  Karla Brown

What does a Genuine Intruder Narrative look like?

Karla Brown was a popular all-American girl, a former high school cheerleader with a slim, curvy figure and golden-blonde hair. In the summer of 1977 Karla was photographed by a local newspaper in a string bikini and straw hat walking on a beach. After publication of the photo, Karla’s folks had to change their phone number due to the sheer number of calls from young men wanting to meet their daughter.

On June 20th, 1978, when Karla and her fiancé moved into a new house at 979 Acton, in a middle class suburb of White River, Illinois, the neighbors sat up and noticed.  Brown was engaged to be married, and had moved into a house the day prior to her death.  Even so, it was unusual for unmarried couples to be living together in the 70’s. Having completed the move, Brown and her fiancé, and friends who’d helped haul furniture, gathered in the house for an impromptu party.

The next day, June 21st at around 10:45am, the four foot eleven, 100 pound 22 year old was murdered in the basement of her new home. She was also severely beaten and sexually assaulted. When her fiancé, Mark Fair, and his friend, Thomas Feigenbaum, arrived at 979 Acton, they found the front door unlocked.  Fair immediately became annoyed, saying: “I keep telling Karla to shut the door.”  Inside the house, Fair called out to Karla, to no avail.

After searching the house, Fair went downstairs and saw something that turned his stomach.  His fiancé lay half-naked, with her torso submerged in a barrel.  Her hands were tied behind her back with a white wire and plastic extension cord which had been removed from a box in the basement.  Fair shouted, ran and yanked Karla out of the barrel.  He screamed at Feigenbaum to call emergency services.  When the ambulance arrived, medics found Fair still clutching Karla to his chest, grief-stricken and sobbing. There was an attempt at CPR but after a few minutes it was obvious that Karla hadn’t merely drowned, nor had she died recently.

Karla’s body was covered with a blanket to conceal her body from view to curious onlookers.  The darkening street outside was soon flashing with parked police cruisers.

It became obvious that the attack on Karla had been particularly vicious.  Karla had been bludgeoned on the head, strangled, stabbed and bitten on the shoulder. She was covered in large bruises. She had a cut on her forehead and across her nose and chin.  Her jaw was broken in two places. She appeared to have been strangled with a pair of socks that had been tied together [sourced from an upstairs drawer]. Her air supply was also compromised by the same cord tied around her hands, circling her neck.

The drowning appeared to be staged, as an autopsy showed less water in her lungs than would be the case in a genuine drowning. The dressy winter sweater, strange attire for mid-summer at home, was buttoned to the throat and appeared to be another attempt at staging, by partially redressing the victim. There appeared to be a clear intent to make Karla suffer before and during her death. People involved in the case repeated the term “overkill”.

Similarities to the Ramsey case:

  • Just as in the Ramsey case, all the items used to subdue, restrain and kill Karla Brown were sourced from within the home.
  • There was virtually zero evidence of an intruder. No fingerprints, no fibers, no DNA.
  • Overkill indicative of intense emotion. Just as in the Ramsey case, the victim had been strangled and also suffered a severe strike – in fact, several – to the head. Just as in the Ramsey case, there was also additional bruising, which suggested taunting and torture as part of the overkill. Whoever killed Karla clearly had a degree of emotional investment in the crime.
  • Binding and suffocating. Just as in the Ramsey case, there was not only cord used to restrain the victim, but the cord was not tightly or effectively tied.  It had clearly been cut with a knife.
  • Just as in the Ramsey case, the body had been left for dead in the home long enough for it to stiffen.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Basement as crime scene.
  • Prime suspects in both cases passed polygraph tests.

If we’re going to use weapons and materials sourced from within the home as a reason to suspect an inside job, the Karla Brown case suggests care and caution around this mode of thinking.  It may be true but is it necessarily true?

Yet despite these numerous similarities, besides the fact that the cord in the Karla Brown case was tied directly against her skin, there were at least eight glaring dissimilarities.

  • An unlocked, open front door was clearly a possible point of entry.
  • The exit point was also clear. Unlike the Ramsey case where there were negligible signs of an intruder, in the Brown murder, police noticed a bloody hand print left on the doorknob. This indicated the killer hadn’t washed himself when he’d exited the crime scene, indicative that he lived nearby which meant the risk of being seen was of little concern.
  • Incomplete redressing. Although it appeared JonBenét had her original underclothing changed out, the little girl was nevertheless found not only fully clothed and wiped down but wrapped – covered – in a white comforter. Not so in Karla Brown’s case who was nude below the waist. Whoever had gone to the trouble to redress Karla hadn’t bothered to take much care in the procedure, not in the type of clothing used nor in actually completing the process of redressing. This is suggestive of a lack of intimacy and a lack of access into Karla’s inner world. It may also indicate the intruder was in a hurry to exit the scene. The same cannot be said for the covering up of JonBenét, where the intruder seemed to know his way around, and seemed comfortable to spend a long period of time on the scene, perhaps an hour or several hours.
  • Also different in the Karla Brown case was the lack of ambiguity in the crime scene. Due to blood and water in the basement, and scattered TV trays on the floor, it was obvious the struggle had occurred in situ, that 22 year old Karla was severely hurt during this struggle and from the removed blood-stained tampon, sexually assaulted as well.
  • Karla’s killer didn’t go to elaborate lengths to misdirect the investigation; it appeared to be an impulse-driven attack and her killer simply tried to erase evidence of himself using water. Some investigators theorized that a coffee pot had been used to rinse blood from the couch cushions and perhaps other stained areas.  So the intruder had spent some time at the crime scene after the crime and some staging had occurred.
  • In the Karla Brown case, at least three separate individuals – Eric and Edna Moses, and Paul Main – identified the same suspect, spotted in the area at the time of the murder. In the Ramsey case, there is zero eye witness testimony of someone hanging around the outside of the Ramsey home or approaching it on the night in question. Dogs in the alley behind the house on the garage side to the west were silent that night. Scott Gibbons, the Ramseys’ neighbor to the north, saw strange lights on at midnight that Christmas night.  The “strange” quality implying there was either flickering or some type of movement inside the house, but it seems Griffon assumed these skulkers to be the Ramseys, not an intruder.  Otherwise, he’d have alerted authorities, wouldn’t he?
  • The prime intruder suspect [John Prante] had no alibi.
  • The final difference is the most obvious but perhaps the easiest to overlook. Karla was attacked while home alone. The murder and cover-up occurred in an empty home.

Karla’s murder seems incomprehensible until one understands John Prante.  Although he’d once attended the same school as Karla, Prante was unemployed and clearly occupying a different social class as Karla.  Prante asked to join Karla’s housewarming party the day before she was killed, but Karla rebuffed him. Perhaps she laughed in his face.

Prante was a social outcast, and so the rejection of a former schoolmate stung.  Because Prante knew Karla, her rejection hit very close to home.  Karla Brown exposed Prante for what he was then and there – an oddball, an economic loser, a social loser and a sexual loser.

Prante saw Karla as the solution to this inner crisis; he would get his revenge using her life, loveliness and innocence to “square” the transaction.  If her life invalidated him, he’d invalidate her by taking her life and getting her to satisfy his sexual depredations.  He’d use her life and rash violence to get bloody satisfaction. The bite reinforces this sense of not merely his dominance but his physical consumption of her. He was taking a bite out of her to nourish his inadequacy.

Of all the characters in the Ramsey case, which one was the outcast?  Which one had a bone to pick with JonBenét for making him painfully aware of his own inadequacy?

Scenario 2: The Anastasia Solovieva King Case  King

The Mechanism of an Accessory

When is an accessory involved?  Why does there need to be an accessory?

Indle King was a university educated man [honors at the University of Washington] who developed an appetite for Russian mail order brides.

When his first wife divorced him after four years amid allegations of abuse, it cost King $55 000 and King – a bald, dumpy, unattractive man – felt fleeced.  He was determined not to be taken advantage of a second time.  He – 38 – was also determined to control his next bride – 18 – to the extent that she would cook, clean and earn an income in exchange for the honor of being his wife, and having the right to live in America for as long as she was his wife.

Unfortunately things didn’t work out with his much younger and very beautiful second bride either.  While Indle was a social failure, Anastasia was attractive and popular. When Anastasia wanted to divorce Indle, he was determined to deny her a happily ever after at his expense.

King murdered her in his home by sitting on her, and having a young tenant – Daniel Larson –  strangle her with Indle’s necktie, a “process” that according to Larson took more than a minute to accomplish.

The murder was carefully co-ordinated and premeditated, involving both the lure of Anastasia out of her room to be given a hug [which began the process of subduing her so that Larson could place the tie around her neck] but also timing her disappearance on the exact day – Sept. 22, 2000 – Anastasia returned from a visit to her parents in Kyrgyzstan.

This was important so that King could plausibly deny she’d ever returned.  If no one had seen Anastasia back in America, then it would be King’s word against anyone else’s.

King was eventually caught because of numerous visits to his former tenant – Larson –  in jail for a separate crime.  When police interviewed Larson and emphasized the agony of Anastasia’s parents who didn’t know what had happened to her, he confessed.

The questions raised by the King case are these:

  1. If the King killing required two adults to subdue and strangle an adult woman, and if the Ramsey case was an attack by a child on another child also involving strangling, wouldn’t it require two children to subdue a third?
  2. We can distill the motive in the King case to three words: King felt fleeced.

Fleeced = swindled, conned, cheated, defrauded, hustled, ripped off, taken for a ride.

Who in the Ramsey household felt fleeced?  According to John Ramsey the attack on JonBenét was a sort of payback from a disgruntled employee, but if that was the case, why didn’t they make sure they got what they came for – actual money.  In a kidnap scenario, even a dead person can secure a ransom.

Scenario 3: The Aimee VanderHoff Case  Joe Kenda

Taunting and the Significance of Emotion

A working class neighborhood of East Colorado Springs. It’s September 27, 1995. 18:05. While doing laundry in the basement, a 40 year old male – Arnold Harris – opens a closet to provide ventilation for the dryer.  A sleeping bag inside is too heavy to move.  When Harris unzips the bag a foot is discovered. The cops are called. None of the four occupants in the home say they know who the dead girl in the basement is, and she’s been dead “for several hours” in the opinion of the crime scene techs.

Two adults – parents – are present in the home and two daughters.  The son isn’t home. When investigators ask Arnold Harris who the dead girl is, Harris claims he doesn’t know.  Investigators [including Joe Kenda] find it odd how the family appear to be blissfully unaware of the dead person in their home, even with the cops in the home after the “unknown” body was discovered.  There is cooking and laughter.  If this is a cover-up, it’s perfunctory at best.

There appears to be a stage-managed effort by a family pretending nothing is going on, but it’s over-pretending.  It’s too calm to be credible. The basement has no outside entrance so no intruder could have entered from the outside.  What makes this case different to the Ramsey case however is that the victim is the intruder.  But how believable is that?

When examining the body in the crawl space area, police see no signs of violence.  Nothing, besides the dead body in the sleeping bag, appears to be out of place. This suggests the murder didn’t take place in the basement of that house but was moved there after the fact. But why would anyone taking the trouble to move the body inside a house not simply dump it outside somewhere?  Why leave a body to be found in the house?

There’s also no evidence of restraining wounds but there is a red mark to the young woman’s face, indicative of a single punch or blow.  It takes a moment for the investigator to notice a man’s necktie around the teenager’s neck.  It’s pre-knotted, and is embedded so deeply in her neck the coroner [like Meyer during JonBenét’s autopsy] had to cut the tie out of her neck while performing an autopsy.

Sound familiar?  What can we apply to the Ramsey case and more important, what can’t we?

Similarities:

  • Instead of a call to the cops because of a Ransom Note at 06:00 in the morning, in this case, the call comes in the evening close to 18:00.
  • Once again there’s a house full of people completely unaware of who or what or why someone is lying dead in their basement.
  • Also, the dead person has been there for hours.
  • Did the family truly have no idea who lay dead in the basement? It turned out later that those in the home – not only the parents, but also the daughters – did know the identity of the murdered young woman. She was the girlfriend of their son/brother, Marvin Evans, and her name was Aimee.
  • Marvin and Aimee hadn’t been getting along.
  • There is a cover-up, if only verbally, based on trying to protect the son/brother, not saying certain things, not revealing certain things and not showing a certain kind of emotion.
  • There is also a more literal cover-up. Just like JonBenét, the eighteen-year-old, Aimee VanderHoff, was covered up, this time not merely with a blanket [sleeping bag] but also bundled out of sight into the basement closet. The wine cellar was an obscure room in the Ramsey home and the door to the wine cellar was secured.  In this sense, the Ramseys’ wine cellar room was effectively the Harris’ closed closet.
  • Minimal defensive wounds. Like JonBenét, the teenager in this case showed minimal defensive wounds, indicative that she knew her attacker. If she knew her attacker why would she be an intruder?
  • Like JonBenét, the killer [who turned out to be Marvin, someone close to Aimee], didn’t have the heart to dispose of the murdered girls remains outside the house, again, a symptom of some kind of prior and perhaps lingering attachment.
  • The only obvious injury is a severe ligature, and the murder weapon – a necktie – came from inside the Harris home [just as the garrotte did in the Ramsey home].  There’s another knotted necktie in Marvin’s bedroom closet.  What we have here is another case of a knotted killing instrument, just as we do with the garrotte in the Ramsey case.

Did investigators need to do knot-tying analysis to determine whether Marvin had tied the knot of his tie?  Did investigators compare the knot tying of the father, the mother and the two girls?  No, it was sufficient that the pre-knotted tie was found in Marvin’s closet, an exemplar of the same tie used to kill Aimee.  Only a lunatic would claim that an intruder came into the house, borrowed one of Marvin’s ties, made a practice tie, and then made another tie and used that, all with four or five people present in the home.  And then smuggled the dead girl into the basement still with all present and accounted for.

In one sense the knotted necktie is a damning piece of evidence interchangeable – potentially – with Patsy’s notepad, the practice note on Patsy’s notepad, the felt-tipped pen traced to a pen in the kitchen, and the wood of the garrotte found inside and beside Patsy’s paint tote [a broken paintbrush that belonged to Patsy was fashioned into the garrotte].  The knotted tie is analogous here to the Ransom Note, in the sense that – while not nearly as elaborate – it forms an essential part of the murderer’s arsenal.  I’m using a little license here by associating the knot’s connection to another knot, to the Note’s connection to the crime, through the probable writer of the Note.

The neck ligature in the VanderHoff case cut so deep into Aimee’s neck the cord had to be cut during her autopsy. This is indicative of a strong emotion between the victim and killer.  In the Ramsey case, this “strong emotion” hasn’t been adequately explained. Who had reason – inside the Ramsey home or outside – to be strongly emotional when it came to JonBenét?

We gather insight into this very question through the VanderHoff case. The murder of Aimee Vanderhoff by Marvin Evans isn’t a psychological labyrinth by any means.  We uncover these psychological insights, and the emotional nuggets buried within, by drilling deep [but not that deep] into the backstory of the victim.

  1. Aimee and Marvin started dating six months before he strangled her.
  2. They were an interracial couple.
  3. Both were in high school.
  4. The relationship started out intensely, with the couple wearing matching shirts and sharing a bank account.
  5. Just a month and a half into their relationship, the couple began arguing [this insight was provided by Aimee’s family, not Marvin or his family].
  6. Marvin became very possessive, jealous and controlling.
  7. Aimee tried to separate herself from Marvin, breaking up with him and getting her own bank account.
  8. Marvin stalked Aimee, following her, checked up on her, called her and threatened to kill her male and female friends.
  9. On September 11, 1995 just over two weeks before the murder, there was a “precursor” argument involving Marvin yanking a necklace off her neck.
  10. This prompted Aimee’s parents to assist her in taking out a restraining order against Marvin.

The idea that Marvin simply removed a necklace from her neck two weeks prior to Aimee dying of a neck wound from being strangled, and given that Aimee’s parents took out a restraining order against Marvin following this argument, it’s likely the necklace wasn’t merely yanked off.  In other words, it was a narrow escape and part of an escalating cycle.

It’s possible the same “precursor” event took place in Boulder from the Ramsey home on December 23rd, prompting the mysterious 911 call in the middle of a Christmas party.

Four Vital Insights

  • The first vital point to apply here – in terms of the Ramsey case – is the intercession of the Vanderhoff parents to protect their daughter.  Aimee got injured in an argument and they took protective action of their eighteen-year-old daughter.  Ultimately, of course, it wasn’t enough.  Despite the restraining order, Aimee herself went to see Marvin, and when she did she was murdered at his home, and hidden inside his home.
  • The other thing to address is the taunting that was going on. Despite the restraining order, Aimee often called Marvin, which may have felt to an emotionally unhinged and potentially insecure person, like taunting to him.  We don’t know what it felt like for Marvin, a black man, to see his white girlfriend who’d rejected him, through the window of her home socializing with her white friends.  Marvin saw Aimee’s friendships with other people [white people] as provocative, leading to an escalation in his controlling and stalking behavior.
  • One might argue that Aimee going to see Marvin, in spite of a restraining order, was a way of taunting him, but her intentions appeared to be innocent.  She wanted to soothe him and make friends with him whereas Marvin needed her to address his inadequacies. He wanted her back or else.
  • In a real sense the continued access to one another resulted in what may have felt to Marvin like taunting; a repeated prodding of Marvin’s jealousy button. A repeated sense of frustration; wanting something but not being able to have it because of another person.

But there are a few crucial differences to the Ramsey case.

  • JonBenét died in her own home, whereas Aimee died at Evan’s home.
  • There is far more covering up involved in the JonBenét murder and disposal [even if there was an intruder] than the Vandenhoff case despite both victims being known to their attackers.

So why is there more covering up in the JonBenét case?  Why did JonBenét need to be wiped down, her clothing changed, a ransom note written? Well, isn’t it obvious?  Wasn’t JonBenét much better known to her attacker and the folks who lived there than Aimee was to her attacker and her attacker’s kin?

Isn’t a possible high degree of affiliation and thus scandal in the Ramsey case the reason the crime needed plausible distancing?  The attacker couldn’t be just any old attacker in the Ramsey case, it needed to be a bloodthirsty [but not extremely greedy] foreign faction.

Another major difference in the two cases was the control of the crime scene. Investigators knew from the get go it was a murder.  It was never misrepresented as a kidnapping.  Also, investigators overheard Marvin’s mother Cindy whispering on the phone while the cops were on site.  It turned out Marvin’s mother Cindy had called Aimee’s mother to tell her she was dead.   

Why had the family been lying?  They had known who Aimee was, so why lie about it?  This brings us to perhaps the biggest overlap between these two cases. The peculiar behaviour of Marvin’s family and the outright dissembling had something to do with the only member of the family that wasn’t there at the time. This is a flashing parallel to the Ramsey crime scene after JonBenét’s body was discovered.  Everyone’s there – JonBenét’s parents, the cops, friends of the Ramseys and their pastor.  But older brother Burke’s not there.  And everyone’s apparently in the dark about what happened.

Well, Marvin’s family weren’t in the dark after all, were they?  Marvin had gone out with Aimee for six months, most of which included arguments, stalking and ultimately a restraining order.  They had to have known about this, especially if Aimee felt free to visit Marvin at his home on the day of her murder.

In the Ramsey case, by removing Burke from the scene, the Ramseys very effectively removed Burke from much of the narrative as well.  In John Douglas’ book Law & Disorder, Inside the Dark Heart of Murder a total of just 17 lines are dedicated to the Burke Did It theory.  It’s pertinent to point out that while Douglas spends less than half a page discounting the BDI theory, he spends five and a half pages specifically countering the Patsy Did It theory, and that’s besides many other references to why the parents are impossible murder suspects in the Ramsey case.

Just because Burke is absent during the kidnapping phase doesn’t mean he wasn’t in the home during the execution of the crime and cover up.  If investigators took a few minutes to home in on Marvin Evans, the fifth resident of the Harris home, why is Burke such an impossibly hugantic, ginormous leap for everyone else where the general circumstances are similar?

The final point to emphasize is that Marvin essentially lured Aimee to him.  Why was this “luring” even necessary?  Because Marvin had frightened Aimee previously, so Aimee would need an incentive to come over.  Perhaps he’d repaired her necklace and wanted to return it to her as a gesture of goodwill?  And Aimee simply wanted to preserve good relations.  But her naiveté under the circumstances, and Marvin’s toxic downward spiral of feeling himself invalidated by this girl, ultimately played into a psychological mechanism that resolved itself through murder. The inter-racial aspect is perhaps mirrored by JonBenét’s pageantry separating her [or appearing to separate her] into a different social class, which may also have felt like taunting to her jealous killer.

Scenario 4: David Wilson and David Wilson II  

How do sexual predators operate [and are they necessarily murderers]?

In the past, John Ramsey has referred to JonBenét’s attacker as a creature. Specifically, in The Other Side of Suffering published in 2013, John refers to the killer as a “faceless creature.” In Death of Innocence, Ramsey uses the word creature as well, describing “it” as a “deranged assailant”, “a vicious monster”, “a pedophile”, “a psychopath” and someone who liked “snuff sex.”

Sexual predators, especially of children, are not always murderers, and stereotypical kidnappers are not often pedophiles.  The criminal profiles do not overlap!

The David Wilson case provides some truth serum to the silly charade of semantics described above. It’s a reality check not only on how a sexual predator operates but how you catch one.  It’s also a reminder of what sexual predators typically do and more significantly, don’t do.

In 2005 David Wilson attacked twelve women during a yearlong siege in Phoenix, Arizona.  The attacks were so frequent the cops eventually had every officer available combing the streets for days on end.  Such were Wilson’s indefatigable appetites, despite a heightened police alert, Wilson’s attacks continued.

Real sexual predators can’t control their appetites, and hence, re-offend until they are caught.  In the Ramsey case, there was clearly no child predator stalking the streets of Boulder either in the months before or immediately after JonBenét’s murder.  The notorious predator Robert Browne, also operating in Colorado, had already been apprehended by Christmas of 1996, so if JonBenét’s attacker wasn’t Browne, this had to be someone new.

In the Wilson case [also known as the A.M. rapist] dozens of police officers were called upon to hunt down the nocturnal predator. The neighborhood felt traumatized and terrorized, the cops committed to weeks of stakeouts, but the attacks continued regardless.

Wilson on the other hand was no slouch.  Committing a sexual crime without leaving DNA or fingerprints takes some doing.  Because Wilson had no priors, his DNA wasn’t on record, so strictly speaking it was not a DNA case, and DNA wasn’t going to be enough to catch him.  This case amounted to simple track and trace.  It was identifying strike patterns and doing stakeouts, and casting as wide a net as possible. The fact that Wilson struck so often meant the police could get closer to catching him just as he was learning to execute progressively “cleaner” attacks.   And Wilson was clearly improving at his criminal craft.  The question was, could the cops up their learning curve?

If Wilson was methodical in how he selected his victims, and if all his victims fit a particular profile [white, 20-46, all lived alone], how could one begin to apply the same insights to the Ramsey case?

If the police had waited for a DNA bingo – as the authorities in Boulder apparently still are more than twenty years later – they likely wouldn’t have caught Wilson as soon as they did.

A serial attacker has a carefully thought out plan, including entry and exit. If the Ramseys were right about the intruder, not only did he bungle the murder and kidnapping, he seemed to forget to molest his victim and underestimated the size of the suitcase he was going to smuggle JonBenét out with. Does this sound like an experienced attacker or a virgin killer?

Wilson’s work as a satellite television installer, plus his awareness of police tactics [his father was a police sergeant] taught Wilson to be meticulous about washing DNA from a scene.  His job also provided him with unique access to his victims. He watched them for weeks on end before striking.

Who had this kind of unique access to JonBenét? There are only a select number of people who could have watched JonBenét for weeks on end.  Typically, continuous day-and-night access to very young children is only possible for parents, siblings and friends of a similar age.

Thanks to his job, Wilson could “case the joint” before targeting and attacking victims. As such, Wilson certainly fits the description of an “inside job.”  But the profile only goes two steps: technician/laborer – sexual attacker.  None of Wilson’s victims were kidnapped and none of them murdered.

Now let’s look at a convicted child sex offender, ironically another David Wilson, this one from Houston, Texas. We’ll refer to him as Wilson II.  In this case, we can see what a child sex offender looks like, how he re-offends and what the sexual damage looks like.  Once again, DNA wasn’t used to link Wilson to the crime but something far worse, and far more repulsive.

Wilson II sexually assaulted his 23-month-old niece [his sister’s infant daughter] over a period of a year.  Wilson II had unrestricted access to the infant which fomented not just abuse but serial abuse. In this case the consequences are diabolical. When the toddler was taken to a doctor she was diagnosed with HIV, genital herpes and chlamydia. Reconstructive surgery was required to repair chronic infection to her private parts. A doctor informed police the child had been sexually abused due to the nature of the sexually transmitted diseases she was infected with.

So where does one find such a monster?  Well, not stalking neighborhoods like Wilson I, the satellite television installer.  The investigation into Wilson II started and stopped at the child’s home.

Here we have one horror piled onto another: had the police and doctors been more attentive, Wilson II could have been apprehended a year earlier than he was.  Think of that.  A year of abuse against a less than two-year-old child that could have been avoided.

The point is neither Wilson nor Wilson II were nameless or faceless creatures.  As soon as we view criminals as monsters, we remove them from their own sick psychologies, and worse, we remove ourselves from making any attempt to connect the perpetrators and their psyches to their crimes.

Ramsey’s description of a serial attacker suggests a bold, skilled criminal.  My impression of the attacker is kinda different.  The attack on JonBenét seemed clumsy, poorly planned, poorly executed; a colourful mixture of playfulness and panic.  The staging echoed all these qualities; the overkill in the murder itself is mirrored in the overkill of the staging. To strangle and bludgeon a small child is overkill.  A three-page Ransom Note is overkill.  So is inviting the neighborhood into a crime scene as a captive audience.

Bizarrely, Ramsey’s profile of the creature with “strange mannerisms” who might be “younger”, a “man” who “likes movies”, an “ex-con” and whose attack on JonBenét “wasn’t his first crime” was someone who may appear “perfectly normal.” Perfectly normal looking? Was John Prante perfectly normal looking as criminals go? Was Indle King? Was there nothing that mattered about Marvin Evan’s appearance?

Well simply going by appearances, wouldn’t that exclude John Mark Karr? It would also exclude the housekeeper [not younger, not male, no priors] as well as Access Graphics employees [not ex-cons, not younger, no priors], but who wouldn’t it exclude? Would it exclude Burke?

  • strange mannerisms
  • who might be younger
  • a man who likes movies
  • his attack on JonBenét wasn’t his first
  • someone who may appear perfectly normal

Who in this case appears perfectly normal and has strange mannerisms?

Scenario 5: Ian Stewart  Ian Stewart

Invoking A Kidnapping – A British Version of a Phantom Intruder

The man who would murder his fiancé Helen Bailey, a successful children’s author, met her under the slimmest of circumstances, just as he met his first wife, Diane.

“We met in the canteen and I stole a chip off her plate. That’s how we met,” Ian Stewart told a British court referring to his first wife, Diane. Stewart met Helen Bailey on a Facebook group for bereaved widows and widowers. But the slimmest chance is all a monster needs to get his hooks in, and even from a single hook, a lethal cancer can spread.

Diane Stewart, Ian Stewart’s first wife, died suddenly on the back patio of their house [supposedly of an “unexpected” epileptic fit], because her health had been deteriorating steadily before her death.

Was it just bad luck that women seemed to die suddenly and unexpectedly around Stewart?

Grief was the tie that bound Bailey’s fate to Stewart’s and perhaps blinded her to the fact that she was being gradually poisoned by someone in her own home. Greed was the tie that bound Stewart to Bailey.

Bailey’s unexplained disappearance, even before Stewart married her, was inexplicable to the authorities, at least at first. Unlike JonBenét, who was found after seven hours in the basement, Stewart’s wife was discovered five months after her disappearance buried and rotting in a cesspit [buried in her and Stewart’s shit in other words] under their house.  Her dog Boris was thrown into the stinking sludge as well, for good measure.

But Stewart thought he had a plausible explanation for Bailey’s death and disappearance.  She’d been kidnapped. Later the explanation was expanded to a “bungled” kidnapping.

It’s interesting that in Stewart’s version he identifies two kidnappers/attackers and has them moving freely through his home.  It’s also noteworthy that the moved manhole cover is another version of the broken basement window.

Stewart relayed a message from the kidnappers [received by phone]:

“Helen and Boris are with us. She is helping us solve a problem. Don’t tell anyone where Helen is.”

A few days later, Stewart claimed, there was a follow-up message, this time from his fiancé directly:

“I love you, sorry about everything.”

In this version, Stewart didn’t need a Ransom Note, but in the face of Helen Bailey’s continued absence, his explanation seemed plausible, and police accepted it for as long as five months after Bailey’s disappearance.

Stewart also slyly used the threat of the kidnappers to remain silent to explain his reticence during her long absence.  Stewart had thought of everything. It’s easy to play Monday morning Quarterback in a case like this, but we can see Stewart was able to outwit the cops for months.

The biggest advantage he had over the cops was the absence of a body.  While that was in play, Stewart could theoretically spin any yarn and in the absence of evidence, the cops had little choice but to accept Stewart’s evidence. But once Bailey’s body was discovered, Stewart became a natural suspect. Of course by then the case was already stone cold.  What was there to link him to the crime then?

Solving this case would have nothing to do with DNA evidence, or ransom notes, phone records or any other hard or soft forensic evidence.  It had nothing to do with statements or fingerprints, footprints or murder weapons.  It had to do with money transfers. Stewart had thought of everything except this.

Initially Stewart explained the large amount of money missing from his fiancé’s account had simply gone to the kidnappers.  But when the cops checked the actual accounts, who were the kidnappers?  Well, Stewart of course.  In the end, Stewart was caught by following the easiest evidence of all – the money trail.

Despite being armed with suspicious transfers into Stewart’s bank, without Bailey’s body there was little else to implicate Stewart.  For three months and hundreds of hours, police combed through Stewart’s [actually Bailey’s] 100 year old mansion.  It was only after consulting with the original blueprints from a former owner that they located a four metre cesspit in the garage area of the house.

If it had taken the cops much longer to locate the cesspit, Stewart may well have gotten away with murder, perhaps not for the first time. Stewart must have felt the septic tank was a “trump card.”  And in a real sense it was.

A body is an immensely valuable piece of evidence, revealing method of death, time of death but most important, it is causa sui in the evidentiary sense that a crime has taken place at all.  In other words, a body is self-evident, while the absence of a body is simply, evidence of absence.

The police in the Stewart case never came up with a smoking gun. They admitted no single piece of evidence indicated a murder investigation.  Its resolution came down to a culmination of small things, and figuring out the hidden backstory.

Incredibly, even after Bailey was discovered buried below the garage in Stewart’s home, Stewart maintained a ruse albeit with a few new touches added to his continuously evolving story.

Stewart’s motive was simple but it was also in a sense an enormous incentive.  He was playing a high stakes poker game for months or years on end, and he was playing to win.

The incentives were plenty: a £3,326,316 fortune, enormous properties as well as pension and life insurance payments from his fiancé.  Essentially though, the incentive boiled down to a single document: Helen Bailey’s will. The transaction was simple.  If Bailey died, Stewart won the entire jackpot, and he wouldn’t have to marry her to get his paws on it. But he would have to play his cards perfectly.  In 21 months, Stewart concocted his plan and lied about it for five months [two months until he reported her missing in April and three months after that when her body was discovered in July] after he’d executed it.

Stewart, like Indle King, was a university graduate, graduating with first class honors, so it’s not hard to imagine an educated man planning a crime for months initially outsmarting cops.

What we can’t imagine is this level of callousness until we see it for ourselves. Which are we more inclined to believe?  That a middle-aged dude who’d lost his first wife simply had a bad memory, and very bad luck with women, or that he was operating with crystal clear clarity, driven by greed, and capable of unspeakable cruelty?

As it turns out; the latter. Within hours of her murder, Stewart initiated a cover-up, beginning with the disposal of a duvet from the couple’s home at a refuse tip, captured on CCTV cameras. He also wasted no time getting the first of those big cash transfers underway.

Just a month after killing Bailey, Stewart renewed Arsenal season tickets, and used Bailey’s bank account to do so. But take the psychology a step further. Every time Stewart used the toilet of that house, he knew where the shit was headed, he knew he was burying the past and burying Bailey that much more, and moving that much further forward, into Bailey’s money. Think of the sick satisfaction he probably felt.

The edge the Ramseys had on Stewart were the aspersions cast on the investigators and the investigation itself.  Had Stewart been able to attack either, accusing them of harassing him or arresting him without cause, he could have delayed the discovery of Bailey’s remains, perhaps indefinitely.  Of course, Stewart’s biggest failing was the most obvious: his greed made him impatient and his impatience showed damning transfers of money, and lots of it, into his personal accounts.  He’d covered everything but he couldn’t cover the obvious – the money and his greed.

Prosecutor, Charles White, described Stewart as “an arch dissembler, he was able to trick everyone, so I think anybody who came across his path was a potential victim.”  The victim closest to Stewart, naturally, was Bailey.  As a successful author, she had to have an intelligent head on her shoulders, so how could Stewart get around that?

It turned out Stewart was surreptitiously stupefying Helen Bailey over a long period with the sleeping drug Zopiclone. And Stewart was gradually upping the dose. What Stewart had figured out was a “painless” and “easy” way not only for Bailey to die, but also for her to be murdered.  There wouldn’t need to be an effort, or a struggle, or any shedding of blood.

Stewart’s plan was brilliant for its cold-blooded cruelty and callousness.  Similar to John Prante, Stewart had drowned his victim, and done so in a way that he could shove in Bailey’s face the humiliation he’d “suffered” at having to “beg” her constantly for an allowance.

Bailey’s outstretched arm below the manhole also suggests a simmering consciousness at the time of her murder.  She may have been woozy and chronically compromised, but the realization of what Stewart was doing would have been something she could have smelled, and smelled acutely. The killing of Bailey’s dog Boris could also have involved drowning the dog while still alive in human excrement.

The only reason we know Stewart’s plan in such detail is because a successful chemical analysis was conducted by Dr Mark Piper, a forensic toxicologist, of Bailey’s hair.  There was little cell tissue to test and the hair seemed a long shot.  What investigators discovered were increasing amounts of Zopiclone in Bailey’s hair closer to the root, and decreasing amounts towards the tips.

During Bailey’s absence, Stewart sent a number of texts to her phone, claiming subsequently in court that she had it with her.  Stewart also travelled to the couple’s property in Kent where her phone connected to a router located at this property.  Fancy footwork for a man trained in Information Technology.  But for an arch dissembler, Stewart’s arrest was less fancy.

The arrest itself was filmed, as was Stewart’s badly-acted response to it.  We also see Stewart’s attempt to manipulate information out of the police, and their stalwart insistence that statements be made on the record at the cop shop.  Since all of this happens backgrounded by a staircase, one can’t help imagine the Ramseys in a parallel universe, fairing somewhat differently at the hands of authorities.

And here’s the key insight into a monster.  Some of the cruelest monsters are the biggest cowards. This is the part we fail to reconcile.  Because why should someone cunning and cruel enough to murder, someone brave enough to kill, lack courage?  It’s precisely this lack of courage in life, this lazy approach to resurrecting one’s status from the cesspools of failure that’s the source of the cowardice in the first place.

An investigator involved in the case called the endless flushing of shit onto the corpse of his murdered fiancé “an incredibly cruel and cynical way to dispose of someone you claimed to love.”

But wasn’t this the same shitty cynicism that prompted the Ramseys to dispose of JonBenét in the way they did, flushing her away with three sheets of paper into a basement which would one day fill to overflowing with a case comprised mostly of bullshit?

Robert Frost once said, “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.” If anyone can do that in the Ramsey case, they either deserve a medal or a dishonourable discharge. Perhaps the latter.  There’s an unexpected side-effect to a fully immersive Intruder Investigation.  What we invariably find is where there is a real intruder, there’s real grief. When Karla Brown’s fiancé was asked years after her murder to describe the scene in the basement that midsummer’s day, Mark Fair reacted with immediate grief. He broke down on the stand sobbing uncontrollably.  It was as if the murder had happened that very day.

Indle King, in sharp contrast, showed no remorse for his wife’s death in court. Where was the grief in Marvin’s Evan’s home, or in Marvin Evans himself [who went to work to establish an alibi]?  Even the sex predator David Wilson expressed remorse for the sexual pain he’d inflicted on his victims, although his knowledge of legal procedures perhaps played into this display.  How was Ian Stewart able to go on a luxury cruise in the middle of an investigation into his fiancé’s murder?

When we apply the same questions to the Ramseys, we must also necessarily ask, if the intruder narrative is fake then isn’t the grief fake too?  If there is an absence of grief, with whom is it most absent?

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Where to buy sequin star: 2007-2012

The second installment of the sequin star trilogy has arrived!  We will not be selling it on Amazon, our usual selling platform.

How can you get a copy of sequin star: 2007-2012?

Purchase a PDF version of the book.  All of our hyperlinks will still be functional.  On the top right sidebar of the #Shakedown site is a yellow “Buy Now” button.  Click the yellow button and follow the steps to purchase.buynowbuttonUpon completion of payment, the system will generate a blue “Return to Merchant” button.  Click that blue button and you’ll be taken directly to the PDF document, which you can then download to your device.return-to-merchant

If you have any issues with the download, please contact:  juror_13@yahoo.com

We value your loyalty and your opinions, and would love to hear from you.  If you’ve read our narratives, please take a moment to visit Amazon and leave a review.   Your feedback makes a world of difference.  Thank you!

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Is the Ramsey case unsolvable? What kind of alchemy is required to dig up new revelations decades after the JonBenét Ramsey case went cold? 

In the second Sequin Star narrative, the authors seek to build a brand new psychological case from the ground up.  They burrow deep through the darkest vestiges of the criminal archive and hold the Ramsey Intruder Theory up against real cases involving real intruders, like the Karla Brown murder and sexual assault from 1978.

The authors also test a myriad of inconsistencies in the Ramseys’ ever-evolving narrative. Why do they exist? What are these irksome inconsistencies covering up so many years later?

In addition to timeline critical events spanning 2007 – 2012, the second Sequin Star also interrogates:

–              Lighting inside the Ramsey home on the night of the murder

–              The northern neighbor Scott Gibbons’ eyewitness testimony

–              The Broken Playroom door

–              The flight itinerary of N2059W, John Ramsey’s personal plane

–              John Douglas’ profile of the killer

–              The Ramseys’ attitude to the media during the maturing phase of their saga

The narrator, investigative photojournalist Nick van der Leek, examines the Ramsey case file through the fiery psychological shafts of grief.  He masterfully casts over endless evidentiary fluff, revealing tangibles buried deep within the 20-year-old Ramsey canon.

Lisa Wilson, an L.A. based true crime researcher, meticulously assimilates and filters all available information to synthesize, from the cloud, the most cogent counter narrative yet.

“The second narrative in this series is solid,” Wilson says. “It expands on the theory of the first in many ways we didn’t expect, and neither will the reader.”

By applying an arsenal of modern investigative techniques, the authors have crystallized the unspoken horror haunting the Ramsey case in the starkest terms to date.  So many words.  So many years.  So much time and life lost.  What can be salvaged from the ashes of one little girl’s life?

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The Grand Juror Doesn’t Speak

AMY:  Do you feel you know who killed JonBenet Ramsey?

JUROR:  I highly suspect I do.

AMY:  And who do you think that is?

JUROR:  I wish not to answer.

Did ABC really think viewers would be OK with that?  That they could name a show “JonBenet:  Grand Juror Speaks,” have a logo with those exact words emblazoned at the bottom of the screen for most of the hour…. Then have the juror say, nah, not gonna answer the one thing everyone wants to know.  WTF!

I should have known better than to get my hopes up with the juror when I saw that Lawrence Kobilinsky was being dragged out of his crypt to [yet again] comment on the misleading DNA.   Here’s what he said on A&E back in September:

“I think the inescapable conclusion is that an unidentified male committed this crime.  This person committed that sexual assault and murdered JonBenet.” – Lawrence Kobilinsky, A&E

Inescapable?  Well whoever it was, they’ve escaped detection for 20 years.  Clearly that evidence isn’t exactly rock solid.  But for a moment 20/20 dangles a carrot and makes the viewer think that perhaps Kobilinsky has had a change of heart.  They declare that they’ve obtained the DNA reports – guess what, so have a lot of other people.  After he pores over them in a bit of a drumroll moment, and admits the two spots of Touch DNA on JonBenet’s clothing are ‘not perfect’ nor would he say the spots are a ‘match,’ Kobilinsky says Mary Lacy was right to exonerate the Ramseys.  Dr. Baden doesn’t agree.  Neither do several other experts.  Neither does the current DA, Stan Garnett.  Nor do we.

“What I am confident about is that the Ramsey case is more than a DNA case, and to ever have a prosecutable case, we have to have several different parts of it come together. DNA would be a part of it. We need a number of other things as well.” – Stan Garnett, Daily Camera

As for the mysterious grand juror, are there any insights we can glean from him at all?

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AMY:  Before you became a grand juror, what did you know about the JonBenet Ramsey case?

JUROR:  Very little.  I saw that there was a little girl dressed up with, in my opinion, a sexual persona and it disgusted me and I turned off the TV.

Interesting that he was so turned off by the pageants.  I wonder if his opinion of that changed during the proceedings or if they played any part in the indictments.  We wouldn’t know, because unfortunately Amy Robach only asked him three questions, at least that we got to see.

He next shares what it was like to be in that basement when the jurors were taken on a field trip to see the house.  His response seems to support the same thing both housekeepers, Linda Hoffman Pugh and Linda Wilcox, said about the unlikeliness of an intruder committing this crime.

JUROR:  In the basement where she was found it was actually kind of an obscure layout.  And you had to, to go into, you come down the stairwell, and you had to go into another room to find a door that was closed.  It was a very eerie feeling.  It was like, somebody had been killed here.

The next question I found a bit ridiculous.  We’ve all known since 2013 that the grand jury voted to indict on two charges, so what’s the point of asking this?

AMY:  Was there enough evidence to indict John and Patsy Ramsey of a crime?

JUROR:  Based upon the evidence that was presented I believe that’s correct. 

This for me was probably the most interesting answer of the entire [brief] exchange.  The way he says ‘based upon the evidence that was presented’ you get the sense that he feels he voted accordingly but perhaps not as he would have liked had there been other information given or factors met.  And if that’s the case, what was missing for him?

AMY:  (voiceover) But did he believe the Ramseys would be convicted?

JUROR:  No.  There is no way that I would be able to say ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ this is the person.

He doesn’t hesitate at all on this answer.  But what’s frustrating is Robach has asked him a pretty vague question.  One would assume, when she asked him if the Ramseys would be convicted, she meant for the charges the grand jury voted to indict them on.  But she doesn’t exactly clarify that.  And his answer seems to suggest he was referring to which of them [John or Patsy] committed the actual murder.

Hasn’t that always been the problem with this case though… trying to pin “murder” on only one of the three?  In our narratives we explain precisely why this doesn’t work.

AMY:  There was no smoking gun?

JUROR:  Not to the point of knowing exactly what happened, or exactly who was involved, no.  And you are the district attorney, if you know, if you know that going in, it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars to do it.

It’s a pretty cryptic and also contradictory interview, isn’t it?  He agrees there was evidence to indict, so he clearly feels there were crimes committed that were provable.  But he also feels strongly there wasn’t enough for a conviction, but a conviction of what and of who?  Murder, accessory, neglect? We just don’t know.

He does seem to think he knows who the killer is.  So why would it be a total waste for a jury to hear this case?  Isn’t that where justice is supposed to play out – in a courtroom?  There was obviously enough of something presented for him to positively think that he knows who did it.  But maybe that’s where the clue lies, in all of this silence.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume he believes the killer is one of the family members.  Even though we don’t know exactly what evidence was presented, we do know who [most] of the witnesses were and they were all Ramsey-centric.  So, which one of the three is it?  Does his hesitation stem from the very same reason the records remain so tightly sealed after all these years?

The Craven Silence and The Day After Christmas trilogies

are available on Amazon.

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Our Reaction to the CNN Special Report: JonBenet

I didn’t have much hope for the CNN special, to be honest.  With the usual suspects like Pam Barday, Bob Whitson and clips of Lou Smit talking about the broken window that John could care less about on December 26th, you can expect Apologia.  At least in their marketing efforts they didn’t hoodwink us like the 20/20 special did.  We’ll get to that program in our next blog.

If you want a sense of how fluffy this “special report” really is, just visit Jean Casarez’s Twitter feed where you’ll find a picture of her and John together draped by a beautiful, sweeping background. Doesn’t exactly look like a murder interrogation; more like somebody who’s awe-struck and didn’t do their homework.

Jean sends out another tweet that says:  “It was really amazing to learn so much more about this case…”  Whatever she learned, she must have learned it off camera, because from what I saw, it was rehash and nonsense.  She mostly sat doe-eyed through the interview with John, never once challenging him on things like why his and Patsy’s fingerprints are absent from the ransom note that they were man-handling on the morning of December 26th.

How about this gem:

When John is asked about being indicted for abuse/neglect, he admits, he should have been better about locking the doors and checking the alarm.  Does John really think we’re that dumb?  Do people really get indicted for feloniously neglecting their children to the point they die because they didn’t lock their door?

Even better, when asked how he felt about being labeled an “accessory,” John doesn’t know what that means.  Not only that, he doesn’t seem to remember that particular indictment at all.

“Really?  I didn’t know that.  I don’t even know what that means, frankly.” – John Ramsey

While we’re being frank, let’s take a look at what John has to say about the indictments in their book Death of Innocence [originally published in 2000, excerpts in green].

“After thirteen long months of looking at all the evidence presented by the special prosecutors and police, the Boulder grand jury said no to an indictment

It takes a mountain of evidence to convict, but only a paltry amount of evidence to indict.  Yet in the eyes of the grand jurors, even that did not exist.”

Hmm.  Did his lawyers fail to mention to him and Patsy in 1999: Oh by the way, you dodged a bullet?  Are we really to believe they had no clue?  Or, is it more likely they knew that we’d have no clue, since everything was sealed?

Perhaps we’ll cut Jean Casarez some slack, and assume she hasn’t read their book.

“Of course, in the months that followed the grand jury’s secret decision, there was much speculation by the media on what the grand jury did conclude.  To suggest that it voted to indict and that the D.A. refused to go along, as some of the media speculated, is pure folly.”

Pure folly, indeed.  johnandjan

The “special report” ends with John and his new wife, Jan, taking a leisurely stroll through the red rocks of the Southwest.  I guess the paid-for PR message of the month is if they can move on, why can’t we?   I guess the joke’s on us.

 

Book 3 in our The Day After Christmas trilogy will be published next week.  Parts 1 and 2 are available now on Amazon.

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JonBenet Ramsey Case Insights: #2 Red Flags Surround Photo 17.7

Before 09:00 on the day after Christmas, 1996, detectives asked John Ramsey for the film inside his camera.  John promptly took a number of photos in order to reach the end of the film reel.  Inadvertently John took a photograph of the wet bar area and a short glass table with two legal notepads on it.  This was Photo 17.7 from John’s own personal camera with film that also contained Christmas Day photos.  In 17.7 two notepads are clearly visible on the knee high glass table.  But in crime scene photographs taken during the “kidnapping phase” some unknown time later the notepads were missing from the glass table**.

  • Were they missing because John had already handed both pads to police? spiral-staircase
  • Or had the pads been moved before more police arrived***?
  • Where did John go when asked by detectives for samples of his handwriting?
  • Where did he collect the pads?
  • Did he collect them from the glass table as Photo 17.7 suggests?
  • Or did he collect them from somewhere else?
  • If the latter, then what?…

Let’s quickly get acquainted with this area of the house.  You see the infamous spiral staircase in the background where the three page ransom note sat on one of the bottom steps.  Directly to the right of the spiral staircase are the steps that lead down to the butler pantry [also called butler’s kitchen].  JonBenet and Patsy occasionally used the butler pantry area for painting.

butlers-kitchen

Just slightly to the right of those butler stairs, on the same level as the spiral staircase, is a small sink and counter area that one could refer to as a wet bar.

Continuing right along that wall, you see the rectangular glass table [with shelves just above it.]  

To the right of the table is the entrance to the kitchen where Patsy dialed 911 and where the Sharpie pen was ultimately found.

first-floor

Note the position of the white wet bar in the schematic in relation to the spiral staircase and low glass table.

Back to the table in the hallway.  Where are the two white lined notepads?  Why is that significant?  From police photos, the notepads – one of which was Patsy’s and was used to write the Ransom Note – aren’t there.  In Photo 17.7 from John’s own personal camera – with film that contained Christmas Day photos – two notepads are clearly visible on that table.

When exactly where those pads moved, by whom, and why?

Here’s Detective Lou Smit prodding John for an explanation of Photo 17.7 in June 1998.

SMIT:  Just one more question.  I have got a photograph here called 17.7.  Somehow this is in your roll of pictures or someone’s roll of pictures from before [investigators arrived and took photos] okay, and it shows, first of all, put it to the camera so they can see that.  And I am going to show you that.

JOHN:  Yeah.

SMIT:  Do you know who would have taken that photograph?

JOHN:  It’s remotely possible that I was having trouble with my camera, I think, and I don’t remember doing this, but I can remember just clicking camera, trying to see if it worked.

SMIT:  When was that?

JOHN:  I mean, I don’t know.  I mean it was, you know, the only time we got the cameras out were typically at Christmas time.  But this looks like the pad frankly that I gave her [Linda Arndt.]

SMIT:  Does that look like the spot where you would – that you picked it up from?

JOHN:  Yes, my recollection, yeah.

SMIT:  So that could be the actual pad of a picture [I think he means picture of the actual pad] taken prior to what happened?

JOHN:  That’s possible.

Well then why wasn’t it on the table when investigators photographed that table on the morning of December 26th?   In true Ramsey fashion, there’s a whole lotta waffling going on including the I don’t remember, but I remember and the ridiculous statement that they never took pictures other than at Christmas time, but oops, they couldn’t even manage to do that, that year.

As the questioning continued, John’s answers got dodgier and dodgier, but wait til you hear how Patsy responded to the discovery…


*Photo 17.7 has never been shared with the public

**The pads had been moved from the glass table [see red arrow] and placed in a different spiral-staircase_liunknown location, until they were given to the police upon request some time after 09:30. 

***More police arrived around 09:30.  BPD Sergeant Bob Whitson arrives at 09:30 and enters through the rear exterior kitchen door. Per the Bonita Papers: “Whitson and Patterson then asked John for samples of his handwriting.” JonBenet’s bedroom door was sealed around 10:30 that morning.


Read more in The Day After Christmas 3, due out this month.

The first two parts are available on Amazon.

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JonBenet Ramsey Case Insights: #1 Burke’s Knife

Why we believe this line of evidence is important: 

We believe Burke’s knife is the most compelling evidence connecting him [let’s say possibly connecting him] to the murder of his sister.

The knife isn’t the murder weapon, however it’s possibly directly linked to the manufacture and assembly of weapons used to subdue, suppress and strangle JonBenét.

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What’s also very suspicious to us is when Burke is asked an open-ended question two weeks after JonBenét’s murder by Dr. Bernhard about what he thinks happened to JonBenét, the first weapon Burke mentions is a knife**.

One of the two murder weapons – the Garrotte – appears to be assembled in situ near Patsy’s paint tray on the floor in the corridor opposite the boiler room and leading to the wine cellar.  A urine stain was also discovered here.

carpet-removed-in-front-of-wine-room

This is the spot where the paint caddy was found [the wine cellar doorway is to the right] – the urine stained carpet was cut out and collected for testing.

The question we ought to be asking is: which is more likely, that an unarmed intruder would break in and use all the materials inside the Ramsey home to execute his crime, and then fail to execute it [he didn’t kidnap JonBenét], or that someone in the Ramsey home, someone familiar with the home and all things inside it, used what they usually used in what eventually escalated into the murder of a child?

The distinctive white camping cord could also be traced [theoretically] to a nearby camping store for which the Ramseys held receipts.

We must also utilize the benefit of hindsight and ponder: if the Grand Jury felt the Ramsey parents [both parents] were deserving of indictments on charges of child abuse and neglect, and if the third party they had aided and abetted in the commission of the crime was Burke, we can also see the possible neglect and recklessness in not confiscating a weapon, especially given it may ultimately have been used to kill JonBenét.

Prior instances of injury to JonBenét by Burke*** ought to have necessitated at least the removal of objects, items and weapons that could be [and perhaps were] used to injure her.

  1. FACT: Burke had his own Swiss army knife, and it has his name on it. [The Ramseys concede in their book that Burke owned at least one knife, and the housekeeper, Linda Hoffman-Pugh does too. In his own testimony, during a 1998 interview with Detective Dan Schuler, Burke conceded he had two knives.] SMF/PSMF
  2. FORENSIC: The paintbrush used as a garrotte appears to be whittled. A fragment consistent with the paintbrush [of whittled wood] was found in JonBenét’s genitalia, described in her autopsy as birefringent material. One [Swiss] red pocket knife was listed in an evidence list dated December 26 [page 10] as 42KKY.
  3. TESTIMONIAL: Housekeeper witnesses Burke whittling; confiscates Burke’s knife

Source: Charlie Brennan, Denver Rocky Mountain News, August 2nd 1999:

Hoffmann-Pugh made good on her threat. [According to Hoffman-Pugh she] “got tired of laundry-area-outside-jonbenet-bedroomcleaning [the wood shavings] up… [Burke had] been asked to do it over paper or a bag or something. So, I just put the knife up one day, in a cupboard over the sink in that area outside of JonBenét’s room” on the home’s second level, an area that also had a microwave and laundry facilities. Hoffman-Pugh said she didn’t tell JonBenét’s parents where she stowed Burke’s knife.

[Although] Hoffmann-Pugh never saw the knife again… it resurfaced [in the evidence inventory] following the 10-day police search [of the Ramsey home]…Specifically, Detective Kerry Yamaguchi discovered Burke’s knife on a countertop near a sink just down a basement corridor from the [wine cellar] where JonBenét’s body was found.

  1. CIRCUMSTANTIAL: Burke’s knife was found in close proximity in the basement to JonBenét’s corpse in the basement wine cellar, in the region of a couple of metres.
  2.  INFERENCE: Besides the whittling of the garrotte itself, a sharp knife was used to cut the lengths of cord used to tie JonBenét’s wrists and fashion the garrotte.

Burke used his knives for scouts and camping. Two principal tasks scouts must learn file-nov-21-10-28-55-aminclude whittling/kindling wood and the mastery of cords, rope and knots.

An intruder may have armed himself with Burke’s knife, though if he wrote and left the ransom note in the kitchen, why not use a kitchen knife or his own knife?

Conversely, Burke may have used the knife as he habitually did.  Whether it was Burke or an intruder, whoever whittled the garrotte, was the same individual who placed the birefringent wood fragment inside JonBenét’s genitalia.  What we know for sure though, at least if Hoffman-Pugh’s testimony is reliable, is that Burke whittled often.  This seems to skew the likelihood towards Burke using his own knife, and fashioning a garrotte, and tying the sort of knot scouts needed to know about, rather than a random intruder with a very spontaneous and haphazard approach to kidnapping and murder.

6.  TESTIMONY: Burke admits owning a knife, admits it has his name on it, admits using it to tie knots and that his mother Patsy gave it to him.

From the National Enquirer October 3, 2016 article – (these are portions of Burke’s 1998 interview with Detective Dan Schuler):

SCHULER: You have two knives?

BURKE: I have one that says my name on it – it has Switzerland on it.

SCHULER: Uh-huh.

BURKE: That one has a big knife, small knife, saw, corkscrew, screwdriver, flat head screwdriver, toothpick and tweezers. And I think that’s it. And then I have another one that has a saw, scissors, it’s got this little hook thing that you tie knots better with. Um, I said saw? A cork opener.

SCHULER: Both of those Swiss Army knives?

BURKE: One knife is smaller.

SCHULER: Where do you normally keep those? In your scouting stuff?

BURKE: I think I like (inaudible) and I have a little place for them in my room.

SCHULER: Did you take them both camping with you?

BURKE: I just took the —

SCHULER: The one with your name on it?

BURKE: No.

SCHULER: Oh, okay. So somebody must have given you that one, for a special occasion?

BURKE: My mom.

7. INTERROGATION/Confirmation [December 11, 2001 Patsy Ramsey Deposition Wolf vs Ramsey]

HOFFMAN: One of the most controversial pieces of evidence is a red Boy Scout knife or a whittling knife. I don’t know if it is a Swiss Army knife. Do you know whether or not Burke owned a red knife at any time?

PATSY: He had a couple of them.

HOFFMAN: He had more than one?

PATSY:  I believe so.

HOFFMAN:  Do you know if he had more than one at one time?

PATSY:  Yes.

8. DISPUTE [June 1998 Patsy Ramsey Interrogated by Detectives Thomas Haney and Trip DeMuth]

Not surprisingly, Patsy denies seeing Burke whittle during an interrogation in June 1998, but concedes she’s seen whittle wood in the play room. The denial is reinforced in the Ramsey’s book Death of Innocence**** published in March 2000, approximately six months after their “official exoneration” by the Boulder D.A. Alex Hunter.  In June 1998 Patsy appears to reveal crucial information but also withhold crucial information about Burke.

DEMUTH: Patsy, I read somewhere that Burke would walk through the house whittling sometimes, whittle in the house; is that true?

PATSY:  I never saw him walk through the house whittling. Now I did, on occasion, in the play room see little whittling like wood, kind of whittles, you know.

DEMUTH: You did ever see [Burke] whittle?

PATSY: No, No, I didn’t.

DEMUTH: Is there any reason why Burke would have a knife like this.

PATSY: No. Huh-uh.

But didn’t Burke say Patsy had given him the knives?

9. Additional Points

  1. According to some sources, Burke may have been given a scouting book for Christmas in 1996 which contained, amongst other things, a how-to-guide for making the knot found on the garrotte. This book was not part of the evidence list. We know that on December 28th Pam Paugh, Patsy’s sister, removed a trunk load of items from the Ramsey residence as per Patsy’s directions.
  2. The garrotte knot is known as a prusik hitch, a typical boy scouts or camping knot.
  3. The Bonita Papers also note the location of Burke’s Swiss army knife to JonBenét’, however the wording implies the knife was found in the same room*****.

*Insights are based on research documented in The Craven Silence and The Day After Christmas trilogies, both published between September and December 2016.

**BURKE:  I think that someone took her very quietly and tip-toed down the basement, then, then they took a knife out and [motions with arm]…like that.

***We know for a fact that Burke hit his sister in the face in August 1994, shortly after her fourth birthday.  Was this an isolated incident? In JonBenét’s medical records there are also instances of her bruising her nose after falling on her face on May 8th 1995, another fall and a cut above her left eye in December 1995, in May 1996 JonBenét hurt her fourth finger of her left hand in another fall,.a bloody bowel movement on November  1st, 1994, repeated instances of rashes, inflammation and vaginitis and “trouble sleeping”. On  August 27, 1996  Patsy reported to JonBenét’s  pediatrician that JonBenét had been asking about sex roles and reproduction.

**** Death of Innocence Page 321: “I wondered if, as they walked through the basement, any of the jurors brought up the issue of Burke’s red Swiss army knife, which according to the media had been found on the countertop near a sink, just a short distance from where JonBenét’s body was found. The implication was that the killer could have used the knife to cut the nylon cord used to tied (sic) JonBenét’s wrists together. The cord was also used to make the garrote placed around her neck, which ultimately resulted in her death by strangulation. Linda Hoffmann-Pugh, our cleaning lady, had said on a TV talk show that she thought the issue of the knife was relevant to the murder.

Patsy and I never quite understood why she’d made those statements except that we knew she was mistaken about a number of other issues when she spoke on national television. The truth was that we had no idea where someone might find Burke’s knife at any given time; he has a tendency to leave things lying around when he loses interest in them. The knife could have been anywhere in the house. And we had no idea if the knife had any relationship to anything that happened in the crime.”

1999 February 18 – Lawrence Schillers book “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town

Page 181:

“Burke had this red Scout knife and always whittled. He’d never use a BAG or paper to catch the shavings. He’d whittle all over the place. I asked Patsy to have a talk with him. She answered, “Well I don’t know what to do other than take the knife away from him….After Thanksgiving I took that knife away from him and hid it in the cupboard just outside JonBenét’s room. That’s how that problem was solved….” – Linda Hoffman-Pugh

*****From The Bonita Papers:  A red Swiss army knife was also found lying in the corner of the room away from the blanket. On the floor outside the door to the cellar was a paint tray and acrylic painting supplies. One of the detectives observed a wooden handle to a paint brush, the type used by artists, which appeared to be broken and a piece missing. The floor of the wine cellar was vacuumed to collect any trace evidence. The black duct tape, blanket, nightgown, knife, broken paint brush and paint tray, and vacuumed particles were all collected and logged into evidence.

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