a question about a murder a few years ago

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by andrew markworthy, Jan 5, 2003.

  1. andrew markworthy

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    Sorry to sound prurient, but some friends and I were talking about hyped-up news stories the other night, and none of us could remember the details of this particular one. Please can anyone tell me what happened in that awful case from a few years back of the little girl who'd won all those beauty pageants where both her parents were suspected of the murder?

    The initial story was that there was no sign of instrusion into the house and that the girl 'must' have been murdered by her parents. There was a follow-up some months later in which (in the British media at least) the local police were heavily criticised when it turned out that in fact there may well have been a break-in. However, both parents were still believed by a hefty proportion of the American population to be guilty.

    Since then there's been nothing in our newspapers about it. Please can anyone bring me up to date on this?
     
  2. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    You're referring to the Jon Benet Ramsey case... I haven't heard anything about it in a while, but I've always suspected that either the parent(s) did it, or they knew the identity of the person who did it.
     
  3. andrew markworthy

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    Steven - gee whizz, that's got to be the fastest response ever!

    There was a lengthy Brit TV programme on the subject and a couple of lengthy pieces in our more 'serious' newspapers outlining the case in favour of the parents; if memory serves me correctly, some key information in their favour was withheld or played down in the US media.
     
  4. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  5. andrew markworthy

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    Thanks for this info.

    The case attracted especial interest in the UK (beyond the obviously horrific nature of the case) for two reasons: (a) the pageants the little girl was entered into (they're not something we have in the UK) and (b) the 'trial by media' (in the UK we have way tougher restrictions on what the media can say about a criminal investigation or court case until after a trial verdict has been reached).
     
  6. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    It's still a tabloid favorite (saw one the other day at the grocery store with her on the cover), but the story has more or less died in the news media, largely because I think they've hit a wall in the investigation. As it goes with trial by media, most people probably think the parents are responsible, one way or another, as that's been the most commonly expressed theory. I don't watch the news magazine shows (20/20, Dateline, Primetime Live, 48 Hours), but it wouldn't surprise me if they do a piece on this story every once in awhile.
     
  7. Karl_Luph

    Karl_Luph Supporting Actor

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    I heard on the radio the other night a possible scenerio of what might have happened. The dad was fooling around with the daughter and the mom caught them and killed the daughter in a fit of rage. Now both parents have to cover for each other. Makes you wonder where God was in their lives. I hope the police stay on this to the bitter end.
     
  8. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Andrew, as mentioned before, this case is still frontpage stuff for the tabloids here (National Enquirer, Globe and others). US tabloids are of course even less respected than in the UK, with no real news value whatsoever. I still have to read them every time I'm in line at the supermarket though. [​IMG]
    They present new theories every once in a while, but all of them point out the parents (either both or one of them) as guilty. I have no idea how valid these theories are.
    /Mike
     
  9. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    I have a similar question, but not about the Ramsey case. This is more for people in the Northwestern US: Does the Green River Killer case still get alot of press? It doesn't get any press here in the eastern part of the country. For those of you who aren't familiar, the GRK was responsible for up to 49 deaths in Washington State in the early 1980s. Most (all?) of the victims were prostitutes or hitchikers.
    From what I've read, Gary Ridgway was arrested in November 2001 and charged with four of the murders but will not go to trial until March 2004.
    I've been reading a book about the GRK (The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer) but I don't believe the copy I have has been updated with this information.
     
  10. Karl_O

    Karl_O Stunt Coordinator

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    "Trial by media" is permitted in the United States because of the "freedom of the press" doctrine (1st Amendment) in our constitution. Any restriction (with the exception of censorship imposed by the U.S. government/military because of national security reasons) on the media in the U.S. would be deemed "unconstitutional." That is what I will say, as saying any more will bring up a political discussion which should be always avoided.
     
  11. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    The local District Attorney's office took over complete control of the investigation just about a week ago, when a newly-elected D.A. took office. CourTV recently reran a documentary about the case, which included a good deal of information from a retired homicide investigator, one of the best in the state, who was called in to review the police investigation by the previous D.A. The local cops had very little experience with either kidnapping (which was the original crime reported) or homicide, and they made a total hash of the investigation during the first critical hours. (Failing to secure the crime scene, not keeping accurate logs or docuementing their own activities, sending the father and a neighbor to look for the "kidnapped" girl in the house, instead of looking themselves.)
    They almost immediately zeroed in on the parents as their only suspects, and a large part of the "trial by media" that followed was less due to the press painting the Ramsey's as guilty than to the police selectively leaking information to reporters as part of a coordinated effort to "break" them and get them to confess. (Since the police saw no hope of solving the case short of a confession, given the evidence they had at hand.)
    The outside investigator found a number of indications in the crime scene photos and the house itself that an intruder had been in the place. He pointed out numerous behavioral clues that point away from the parents. Finally he identified two injuries on JonBenet's body as having come from a stun-gun - something the parents would not have needed to remove the girl from her bedroom without attracting attention, but which a stranger would have. When he presented his findings to the police they dismissed all of them. They told him that the coroner had definitively ruled out a stun-gun as the source of the injuries. In fact what the coroner had told them, and what he repeated on-camera for the TV documentary, was that he couldn't definitively say that a stun-gun did cause the injuries without identifying a particular make and model and conducting tests. When the outside investigator later identified the particular stun-gun the coroner ran tests on pigs and concluded that the injuries were indeed from that exact model stun-gun.
    The police ignored all of this. When the then D.A. threatened to take over the investigation, the lead detective on the case resigned amid a flurry of publicity, blasting the D.A. and telling anyone who would listen that the parents were guilty. Before the D.A. could begin a new investigation the governor intervened, ordered a grand jury to be called, and barred the outside investigator from either testifying or submitting his written report to the grand jury. That jury ultimately decided that there was insufficient evidence to return an indictment against anyone, and that is where the case has sat until this past week.
    It will be interesting to see where it goes next. Presumably the outside investigator (I wish I could remember his name [​IMG]) will at long last be able to present his evidence to someone who hasn't already made up his mind that the parents did it, and the whole matter will be given an objective review. While I think it is still possible that the parents did do it, I think there is more than sufficient reason to consider that a stranger might have been responsible - in which case the local police have given a killer a free pass for six years by refusing to even look at anyone else.
    Expect to see this case in the news again in the coming weeks and months.
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  12. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter Screenwriter

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    As a Boulder resident for several years, I keep hoping that the Ramsey case will be solved conclusively and all of the media attention will go away. As it stands now, the case has been handed over to the new DA and nothing is going to happen unless some new evidence is uncovered (or someone confesses). It's not the only open murder case that the Boulder police have on their hands, but I wouldn't condemn the whole police force (like Jay Leno does) as inept or incompetent. There were mistakes made in securing the Ramsey crime scene, but I do not know whether they were significant enough to void the admissibility of any evidence in a trial.

    As for the parents and their suspected guilt, that perception was earned by their immediate solicitation of a lawyer and their stonewalling of the police on requests for interviews. The easy view to take is that "Only guilty people need lawyers", and the Ramsey's certainly appeared guilty of something. Whether this appearance was their own doing or a product of media sensationalism is something people must conclude on their own, but I can't say that I've ever heard a sufficient explanation for their refusal to talk to the police.

    For those of you who are "True Crime" fans and enjoy speculating on the lurid details, I'll offer my unrefined theory of the crime. The brother did it and the parents know. It explains why the parents are reluctant to talk to police and doesn't require us to believe that a parent would kill or molest their own child. Whether this fits the details is a complete mystery to me.

    And for the record, I was out of town at the time of the murder. If the detectives are reading this, that's one Boulder resident eliminated from suspicion, 99,999 to go.

    Brad

    Edit: after having seen Joe's post...

    I haven't followed up on the case details at all, so I was unaware of the outside investigator's theory of the crime. The former DA didn't earn any new fans with his handling of the case, and he opted not to run for re-election in a race he would have certainly lost.
     
  13. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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  14. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  15. Eve T

    Eve T Supporting Actor

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  16. Alex-C

    Alex-C Screenwriter

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  17. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    considering the strange circumstances...i.e. fishing 100 miles away on Xmas Eve at 9:30 am (not crack of dawn) while his wife is 8.5 months pregnant (a time when you want to be near someone who may need your assistance). Very odd case and if it was random...well that is even scarier
    Suspicion will certainly run to him so it is hoped that the police will be careful.
    We had a case here two months ago when a man took his son to Salt Lake City in a business trip. While he was gone, his house caught fire. He wife died in the blaze, but a neighbor rushed in to rescue a daughter. Police investigation determined that the wife was killed and then placed in the house which was then set on fire. The husband is now under arrest. The police acknowledged that their first inclination is to look at the spouse, especially when unusual circumstances are present. - like our fisher husband.
     
  18. andrew markworthy

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    Thanks for all the info folks.

    I've got to say that I think both parents are innocent - the thing which first made me think this is that at the start they hired separate lawyers; the most *probable* reason for this is that both suspected the other (and if you think about it, this means that each knew themselves to be innocent). The evidence that's been presented since that's based on cold hard facts rather than tabloid speculation and/or whatever the original (and IMHO unbelievably inept) investigation team has fed out, points to an intruder.
     
  19. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    OTOH, the decision to hire separate lawyers could have been a unilateral one.

    I'm not sure what to think. The sibling seems like the most likely suspect. It's the ransom note that is troubling to me. As it was described, it just seemed like such BS.
     
  20. D. Scott MacDonald

    D. Scott MacDonald Supporting Actor

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    I saw an update on this several months ago on one of the popular shows (I think it was Dateline), and a new theory has emerged that it was a known child-molesting vagrant who was recently released from prison. I forget the specifics, but they know he was in Boulder that night and he called a friend saying that he had done something horrible. He was interviewed by the police but was never treated as a serious suspect.

    As far as getting a lawyer is concerned, we all know that police will general focus exclusively on the parents in cases such as these, so I would certainly get a lawyer. History has shown that not getting a lawyer and cooperating fully will usually not shift the focus of an investigation against you.
     

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