DA cites lack of evidence to prosecute Ramseys
A Colorado prosecutor said his predecessor's decision not to prosecute the parents of slain child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was made because of a lack of evidence to prove the case, but could not say whether he would have made the same choice.
In his first comment since the unsealing of papers on Friday that showed a grand jury had voted to indict Ramsey's parents in 1999, Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett noted that prosecutors face a higher burden of proof than a grand jury.
The papers, unsealed following a court order, show that a grand jury decided there was probable cause to charge John and Patsy Ramsey with child abuse resulting in death and accessory to the murder of their 6-year-old daughter. But the couple were never prosecuted, and were ultimately cleared.
In an opinion piece in the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper, Garnett said his two predecessors' decisions not to pursue charges showed they “believed that the evidence did not rise to the necessary level to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at a jury trial.”
Patsy Ramsey reported her daughter missing early on the morning of Dec. 26, 1996, telling police she had found a ransom note on the stairs asking $118,000 for her daughter's return.
That afternoon, John Ramsey discovered the girl's body in the basement of their home, covered by a blanket, a cord around her neck, wrists bound and duct tape over her mouth. An autopsy showed she died from strangulation and a skull fracture.
No one was charged.
Alex Hunter, the district attorney at the time, declined to sign the indictment from the grand jury or prosecute the Ramseys, citing a lack of evidence. In 2008, another Boulder County prosecutor cleared the couple of any involvement.
Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer in 2006 at 49. John Ramsey, 69, remarried in 2011 in Michigan, where he had moved his family not long after JonBenet's death to work at a computer company.
After becoming district attorney in 2009, Garnett said his office again examined the Ramsey case but found there were no possible charges for which the statute of limitations had not run out or for which there was “conclusive evidence.”
“My or my staff's view of what the evidence in the Ramsey case proves will only be stated in open court if a case is ever filed. In the meantime, everyone, including the Ramsey family, is entitled to the full presumption of innocence,” Garnett said.
He opposed the unsealing of the grand jury's decision at the request of a Daily Camera reporter.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Russia, China ply cyberdata to exploit U.S. spies
- Alaska-bound, Obama makes waves by renaming Mount McKinley
- Suspect in Houston-area deputy’s death has history of mental illness, prosecutors say
- New Orleans slow to heal 10 years after Hurricane Katrina
- U.S. Embassy to Japan used private emails, watchdog finds
- Erika wanes as Tropical Storm Fred forms in Atlantic
- McKinley backers balk over mountain’s name change
- Supreme Court rules against Kentucky county clerk on gay marriage licenses
- Florida panther population cut by 10 percent in 7 months
- Clinton: Women ‘expect’ extremism from terrorists, not GOP candidates
- Tourists unfazed by Hawaiian water alert