Newcomers to this blog are advised to begin with the first two posts, Just the Facts, Ma'am and Case Solved, which explain in very general terms why I believe I've solved this case. Some important questions are answered in the following post, Misunderstandings, Misconceptions, Misdirections. After that feel free to browse whatever topics might interest you (see blog archive).

NB: If anyone has trouble posting a comment, email it to doktorgosh (at) live.com, and I'll post it for you.

Notice to readers of my Kindle book: I recently noticed that, on certain devices (though not all), the Table of Contents begins with Chapter One and omits the Introduction and Preface. Since the Introduction is especially important, I urge everyone to make sure to begin reading at the very beginning of the book, not the first chapter in the Table of Contents. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Clear Evidence of Staging: The Basement Window

In Kolar's book we see many examples of John Ramsey's suspicious, apparently deceptive statements and behavior. One incident in particular gets the author's attention several times. Beginning with his police interview of April 1997, and on several occasions thereafter, as duly noted by Kolar, John reported going down into the basement early on the morning of Dec. 26th and observing that the window to the train room was cracked open. He reported that he closed the window, but told no one about it at the time. He also reported seeing a Samsonite suitcase placed flush with the wall directly beneath the window, and noted that this was not where it is usually kept.



What strikes Kolar as suspicious is John's failure to report the condition of the window and the position of the suitcase, along with some other observations he claimed to have made, at the time he initially made them, but only months later. If he were really intent on determining how the intruder got in, why wouldn't he have promptly reported these observations so they could be investigated?

Kolar sees this, and some other significant omissions, as suspicious, and I would agree. What he fails to do is ask himself why John might not have wanted to report such findings at first, and why he would have wanted to only later on.

As I see it, this basement window is the key to cracking the case -- but in order to understand why, some serious sleuthing is required. The first thing we need to pay attention to is John's claim to having broken that window earlier, possibly the previous summer, when he forgot his key and needed to break into the house. Here's what he says about it in The Death of Innocence:
Sometime that morning, I remember a day back in the summer when I had left my keys inside and was locked out of the house. To get in, I broke one of the panes in a basement window; then I reached in and released the latch, so I could climb inside. I think about the basement now, I jump up and hurry down there.

That entry place needs to be looked at, I tell myself. I move down the basement hall and find the window. The pane is still broken and the window is open, with a large old Samsonite  suitcase sitting right under it. Odd, I think. This doesn't look right. This suitcase is not normally kept here.

Maybe this is how the kidnapper got in and out of our house. (p. 20)
In the book, John fails to mention that he closed that window -- without telling anyone at the time about its being open or about the suitcase he found so suspicious.

Since I've already written at length about this window and what it means, I'll be drawing on some of this old material, dating from 2005 (as posted in Jameson's Webbsleuths forum), though with some cuts, revisions and updates, as appropriate. Here goes:

Very strange. If he's looking for a point of entry and/or exit and thinks maybe he's found it, why wouldn't he have informed the police about that right away? And why on Earth would he CLOSE the window????

Here's an excerpt from his 1998 police interview:
7 JOHN RAMSEY: I came down the stairs. I went in this room here. This door was kind of blocked. We had a bunch of junk down here and there was a chair that was in front of the door. . . . I moved the chair, went into this room, went back in here. This window was open, maybe that far.

LOU SMIT: Okay. You said -- or how far were you? An inch?

JOHN RAMSEY: An inch, maybe, or less. It was cracked open.

LOU SMIT: Which window?

JOHN RAMSEY: I think it was the little one. There's three windows across here, as I recall. I  think it was the middle one. It was that was broken. There was pane [of g]lass broken out of it,  which I attributed to breaking myself. . .
JOHN RAMSEY: But it was open and there was  a suitcase under it. This hard Samsonite suitcase.

LOU SMIT: Describe how the suitcase was positioned?

JOHN RAMSEY: It was against the wall. I think the handle was on top. It was directly under the window, as I recall. And I closed the window, I don't know why, but I closed it. 
LOU SMIT: When you closed it, did you lock it or close it?

JOHN RAMSEY: I latched it. There's a little latch on it.

LOU SMIT: And you're sure of that?

JOHN RAMSEY: Pretty sure, yeah. Yeah, I am sure. I don't think I looked anywhere else. . .

SMIT: Did you tell anybody about that?

JOHN RAMSEY: I don't really remember. I mean, part of what is going on you're in such a state of disbelief this can even happen. And the, you know, the window had been broken out. And you say hah,  that's it. But it was a window that I had used to get into the house before. 
He accounts for the window being broken by claiming he's the one who broke it months before. 
It was cracked and open a little bit. It wasn't terribly unusual for me. Sometimes it would get opened to let cool air in because that basement could get real hot in winter. 
Now he accounts for the window being open by claiming he'd kept it open anyhow in the past. Pretty lame! So what if it wasn't that unusual, that's still no reason for secretly closing it! And what about the suitcase, shouldn't he have reported THAT at least?

From the previous year, John's 1997 police interview. ST is Steve Thomas:
ST: OK. When you had previously broken that basement window to gain entry to the home when you had been locked out, can you approximate what month that was?

JR: Well, I think it was last summer. Because Patsy was up at Lake (inaudible) all summer, and it would have been July or August probably, somewhere in that time frame.

ST: Did you remove that grate and get down into the window well?

JR: Uh-huh.

ST: And what did you use to break the pane?

JR: Ah, I don’t remember. Might have been my foot, I don’t know.

ST: OK. You reach in, I’m assuming, unlatched it and gain entry through that small window.

JR: Yeah.

ST: Did you then replace the grate onto that window well?

JR: Oh I probably would have done it that night. I’m sure I didn’t the next morning or, you know, or thereafter.

ST: Did you remove that whole grate off onto the, off the well, to jump down there and get in?

JR: Ah, probably. I don’t remember.

ST: Is there any reason that window went unrepaired?

JR: No. I mean it’s, Patsy usually took care of those things, and I just rarely went to the basement, so it just, I guess, got overlooked. Although she did think that she asked the cleaning lady’s husband to fix it over Thanksgiving when they were doing some repair work there, but I don’t know if that’s ever been confirmed whether he fixed it or not.
In my original post I interrupted the above dialogue from time to time with some sarcastic comments. What bothered me, as it should anyone reading here, is how much John can't recall, how vague he is about so much in his story. He's not sure if it was last summer or not. He's not sure how he got in the well, how he broke the pane, not sure when he replaced the grate. But worst of all, he's not sure whether or not the window was ever repaired. As I wrote at the time,

How can you not know whether or not that window had been repaired? You have a whole team of investigators working for you. If the window HAD been repaired, then the break must have been done by the intruder, no? Wouldn't that be one of the most important things you'd want to determine?

 (to be continued . . . )

39 comments:

  1. It's a shame you have to do Boulder's work for them.

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    1. Well, they did a lot of work. But they never seemed to put much effort into adding it all up. Two plus two always makes four, but in their case, it came out as zero.

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  2. So you think that when the police checked the basement and noticed the broken window, they did not ask John or Patsy about it?

    We know the window was not broken that night by an intruder or John as there was not glass found from the window pane so the question as to whether or not it was fixed is moot. Unless, of course, you think John flushed all the broken pieces in the middle of the night without missing any pieces except for a sliver or two.

    Certainly did a great job of cleaning after killing his daughter - was the broom checked for glass? And even remembered to mess up the dirt outside the window to look like someone had been in the window well - he is good at last minute details, isn't he?

    If one is making up a story about breaking a window, would one be a little more specific about the details.

    FACT: There is no indication of lying and no proof that he is lying about the window.

    FACT: To prove he was lying about the window, one must present evidence of broken glass found somewhere.

    If he wanted it to look like an intruder came thru there, he would have left the glass laying on the floor and ran upstairs yelling - "there is a broken window downstairs - maybe that's how the murderer got in" - now this could/would have been staging.


    Sorry, but your opinion regarding the window is just your guess with nothing to back it up with.
    Just the facts, sir.

    Back to the drawing board, Sherlock!

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    1. "So you think that when the police checked the basement and noticed the broken window, they did not ask John or Patsy about it?"

      I have no idea. Apparently not, because that's never been reported.

      "We know the window was not broken that night by an intruder or John as there was not glass found from the window pane so the question as to whether or not it was fixed is moot."

      The claim that neither could recall whether that window had been repaired is a huge red flag. How could they not recall that? And if the window HAD been repaired, then John's whole story about breaking in earlier would be pointless. So even if their memory was poor (which I doubt), why wouldn't they have made it their business to refresh their memory on this key issue?

      Also, if the investigators had found the break to be old, then why were both John and Patsy questioned at such length about it on two separate occasions? This tells me the break must have been fresh -- the only reason they'd be asking if the window had been repaired.

      John's whole story about breaking in earlier is clearly a pack of lies. This apparently had taken place the previous summer, yet he can hardly recall a single detail. The story is clearly an alibi, to misdirect the police from suspecting what really happened, that he'd been attempting to stage a breakin at that window on the night of the crime, staging he'd been unable to complete -- which made that scene look awfully suspicious.

      As far as the broken glass is concerned, you are being naive. John admitted to going down to the basement that morning, but was always vague about when -- couldn't recall, no just couldn't. Looks to me like he must have gone down there just after Patsy called 911, while she was distracted calling her friends. Realizing he would never have the opportunity to complete his staging, he decided it was necessary to UNstage -- because that broken window now looked awfully suspicious. He would certainly have had an opportunity to clean up the glass at that time - before the police arrived.

      He somehow convinced Patsy to back up his story, but the housekeeper from the start maintained she knew nothing about any broken window and accused them of lying.

      The above is more than a guess. It is the ONLY scenario that explains the scene the police found at that window, through which NO ONE passed. It is the only scenario that explains why John would lie about it, which he clearly did. Reread the transcript.

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  3. NO, there is another scenario: the scenario of John breaking the window last summer.

    Why would he or Patsy state that it happened in the summer when Burke and housekeeper could prove it to be untrue - rather stupid of them. Patsy did not have to add the housekeeper vacuumed down there - she could have just stated she did it - how stupid of her.



    You are assuming all the this, which is okay to assume, but do not say your assumptions are based on the facts, as we do not know the facts.

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    1. "Why would he or Patsy state that it happened in the summer when Burke and housekeeper could prove it to be untrue - rather stupid of them. Patsy did not have to add the housekeeper vacuumed down there - she could have just stated she did it - how stupid of her"

      Yes it does seem to have been a pretty dumb thing to say. I don't know why Patsy would make such a claim. Since I feel sure she was manipulated into backing up John's story, I think she just got flustered and said whatever came into her head without thinking.

      The FACT is that the housekeeper denies helping her clean up any window glass, and in fact has claimed from day one that she knew nothing about any broken window. An important aspect of this case that's often overlooked is that there was in fact an independent eye witness to what was going on in that house, and that eye witness was Linda Hoffmann Pugh, the housekeeper.

      The FACT is that the investigators chose to focus on that particular story, asking one question after another and continually questioning both of them as to whether the window had ever been repaired. I can't imagine why they'd do that if it had been determined that the break was old.

      So either John was lying about breaking it earlier, or this was a fresh break, which means his story is irrelevant. And if his story is either a lie OR irrelevant, then it looks very much like John attempted to stage a window breakin the night of the crime, but was unable to complete his staging -- so then chose to misdirect away from the broken window with his (unlikely) story about breaking in last summer.

      If he is brought to trial he will have his day in court, and be in a position to confront Hoffmann Pugh on this matter. If he can explain the discrepancy, I'm more than willing to listen. He will also need to explain all the other unlikely aspects of his absurd window story.

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    2. FACT: LHP has lied and changed her stories so much, she would not be a reputable witness and you should not consider her one.

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    3. LHP didn't change any of her stories, to my knowledge. She DID change her allegiance, however, after learning that Patsy was naming her as a suspect. Then along came Darnay Hoffmann who recruited her in a campaign against Patsy. After that she brought up all kinds of stuff that made Patsy look bad, whereas previously she'd been defending her.

      However, her statements regarding the basement window were consistent from the start. As quoted in PMPT, she told the investigators she knew nothing about any broken window. That was long before she turned on Patsy. At that time she was staunchly defending her. LHP would have had no motive to lie so early on. Her story is credible. What is incredible is the story John told about losing his key, or giving it to someone or leaving it in the house, about arriving in his car or in a cab (he can't recall), about not wanting to disturb his next door neighbors, who had a key and could have lent it to him, forgetting that he could have called them ahead of time from the airport, about deciding to break into that filthy window well instead of one of the street level windows, and taking off his clothes but not his shoes, though he can't recall whether or not he broke the window with his shoe or some other way. No one asked him how he could see in the dark to know exactly where to break that window, by the way. And then, of course, could not recall whether the window had ever been replaced. Which is unbelievable because if the window had been replaced his whole story would have been pointless, so why wouldn't he have made it his business to check?

      Sorry, but in this case, LHP is by far the most reliable witness, at least as far as that window is concerned.

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    4. Just shows how little you know of the case in which you draw your conclusions.

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    5. If you know more, then please enlighten us.

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    6. I still do not understand why JR had to take off his clothes outside in public to climb into his house through a broken window. Seems luke JR spends a lot of time prancing aroumd his home in his underwear. He took off his clothes to climb in a window. He forgot he was running around the house in his underwear after Patsy called 911. He comes off as a very strange man. My thought about his broken window story was that he made it up in case the police found his fingerprints or something on the window.

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    7. I recently saw an interview on youtube from a while ago. John Ramsey stated he was getting DRESSED when he heard Patsy scream. Now he was Running around in his underwear? Once before I recall he stated he was in the shower when he heard Patsy yelling. Odd !

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  4. Under the broken window, Mr. White states there was a suitcase, along with a broken shard of glass. (SMF 27; PSMF 27; White Dep. at 28-29, 156-59, & 265.) He does not, however, remember whether the window was opened or closed. (Footnote 11). (SMF 28; PSMF 28; White Dep. at 153.) Mr. White also opened the door to the wine cellar room, but he could not see anything inside the door to the wine cellar room, but he could not see anything inside because it was dark and he could not find the light switch. (SMF 29; PSMF 29; White Dep. at 159-61.)

    posted in webbsleuths

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    1. Hey any theories as to why Fleet White didn't see anything or turn the light on in the wine cellar? I've always thought it was because he didn't have the expectation of finding anything, and that altered his mindset, but, thoughts?

      Also, gee whiz, do you ever think about how different this case would be if Detective French had opened the wine cellar door and turned on the light at around 6am when he first got there? That one decision changed so much.

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    2. I think we need to remember that nobody was looking for a body, they were looking for a point of entry. The house should have been secured and ALL people outside while police looked for clues. John Ramsey and Fleet White should NOT have been assisting police. Detective Arndt was an idiot for sure.

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    3. There is only one person who found or was aware of a point of entry and he wasn't telling anyone. John Ramsey! Yes Arndt was a moron, she had no idea what to do with the house full of people. She was probably the most inexperienced person ever. Moving the body, allowing a blanket and shirt to be put over the body, allowing people into the kitchen to make food and eat and clean. Just stupid, no wonder this case will never be solved!

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    4. In fairness to Arndt, she'd been left alone at the scene while the other police were holding a meeting elsewhere. She had the responsibility of keeping track of several people, including John, who disappeared for over an hour, getting rid of evidence in all likelihood. Seems to me the chief of police was the one at fault for leaving her there on her own. On the other hand, everyone assumed at that point that this was a kidnapping, and there was probably little sense of urgency regarding what was going on in the house at that time. All attention was focused elsewhere.

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  5. "Maybe this is how the kidnapper got in and out of our house. (p. 20)"

    It's weird, IMO, that he would refer to a kidnapper when he knew at the time he wrote this that JBR was never kidnapped.

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    1. Good catch! John refers to a "kidnapper" because a kidnapping was what he'd originally attempted to stage. But obviously if no one was kidnapped then there was NO kidnapper.

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  6. Probably the suspect mastered all the exits and entrance of the whole place.

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  7. "Maybe this is how the kidnapper got in and out of our house."

    I believe this is what JR reports thinking sometime that morning BEFORE the body was discovered, when a "kidnapper" was, in fact, still suspected. He suggests that's what made him go down to the basement and check it out.

    I don't doubt that the window is an extremely big clue and I also believe John lied about a great many things, but there is nothing weird about this statement because it refers to his thoughts during the time they were all waiting around for the "kidnapper" to call. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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    1. Yes, thanks -- you are indeed right. He was describing how he felt at the time.

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  8. Doc, do you think the reason JR kept repeating to the police how he had to take off his clothes to climb thru the window the previous summer was simply to potentially explain any of his DNA that could have gotten near the window? It just seems so odd that he would explain how he took his suit off as its not a necessary detail, unless its to explain DNA that he may have accidentally left behind.

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    1. John was improvising a tall tale to misdirect from his window staging, and some of the questions must have caught him off guard -- so he had to think fast. The question arose of why he would choose that basement window to break into since the ground level windows would have permitted a much simpler and cleaner point of entry. His answer was pretty lame, coming from a millionaire, but no one questioned it: the basement window was less expensive to replace. But then he was questioned about his "business trip" and had to admit that he would have probably been wearing an expenseive business suit. Well, the cost of replacing a business suit would probably have been far more than the cost of replacing a ground floor window pane. So at that point he must have come up with his brilliant solution: off with the suit! Since the suit would have been ruined if he'd squeezed himself down into that narrow, filthy space, he would, "naturally" have taken it off -- and climbed down in his underwear!

      And God help us: they bought it!!!!

      There's more, because in order to remove his pants he would have had to take his shoes off. And in order to kick the window in, he'd have had to put them back on. We can only imagine what a neighbor would have thought, if he'd flashed his flashlight on this man with his clothes off and his shoes on, climbing down into a window well in the Ramsey home. Too bad no one saw him, though, because there was no one to verify this truly bizarre (and completely unbelievable) tale.

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    2. I wouldn't want to climb through a broken window during daylight with less clothing as padding to sharp bits of glass let alone at NIGHT when I might not see where the glass bits still might be in the frame or where I might land.?????

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  9. I cannot for one second believe that a rich, powerful, CEO like John Ramsey could not remember if he took a cab home that night or had his car. I suspect he wavered on this part of his story because if he WAS driving his own car, certainly he would have had a remote in it to open the garage door. And from one of his statements (I can't recall which one), he said they never locked the door from the garage to the house. So of course he would have to say he might have taken a cab home. He probably came up with that possibility after realizing he couldn't admit to having his car.

    Also unbelievable, for a business man of his caliber who was, no doubt, wearing an expensive suit, is that he would not have either called his neighbors who had a key to his house or called a locksmith (many locksmiths work 24/7). I just don't see him taking off his suit to make sure it was not ruined while crawling through that window. Frankly, I don't see him breaking ANY window, even if he was in old, holey old jeans. Rich people typically don't do that kind of thing.

    ALSO unbelievable is that he would have picked that obscure, small window -- a window that he could only access if he removed that grate. If, in fact, he really did lock himself out and really did feel the need to break a window, he would have picked another window. That house had several, ground level windows. And he certainly wouldn't have been concerned about the cost of breaking another window. The man owned a plane for heavens sake!

    You're absolutely right, Doc. The window is key to cracking this case.

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    1. Yes, it's a blatant lie from beginning to end. Some elements of this story are hard to swallow but many are just impossible to swallow. To me this is the smoking gun, the one piece of solid evidence that John lied. Meaning the window was broken by him all right, but on the night of the crime. To stage a breakin. Once that's established then you can kiss any and all intruder theories goodbye.

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    2. The window story is a blatant lie, and I find it hard to accept that some people buy the story. I believe most people already have a theory before they carefully consider the window story and therefore simply can't accept it as a lie w/o having to change their theory.

      Anyway, here's a question from a Devil's advocate POV. Patsy called 911. John knew the police would be arriving and discovering the partially staged window. Why didn't he just pull that chair up (the one we see in the Daily Beast video - the one LS neglected to show in his presentation) and push the grate up onto the grass and mess up the sill a bit to make it look like someone came through there?

      His objective was to deal with the partially staged window. One way was to unstage the partial staging. Another way would be simply to complete the staging. Would it be possible to push the grate up from inside?

      There's nothing he could do about the body, but at least he'd have a reasonably believable entry point for the intruder.

      He could also have unlocked a door or window, claiming it had been unlocked all night. He could do this in conjunction with the "unstaging". Yet he didn't.

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    3. That's a really excellent question. Why concoct an elaborate lie when it might seem easier to just go downstairs and quickly complete the staging?

      But the fact remains that John DID concoct that lie. You see that yourself. This tells us that there must be some reason why he didn't either complete his staging or at least open a door for his "intruder" to pass through. Instead he reported to the police that he'd checked all the doors and they were locked.

      What this tells me is that John must have still been hoping his window staging was going to work for him, even after Patsy made her call. Maybe he naively thought he didn't really need to do more than he'd already done. So, when the police arrive, he informs them that the doors are locked in the expectation that they'll notice the broken window and assume the intruder must have entered and left that way. He might have decided that an unlocked door would be too obvious, while a broken window would look really convincing.

      My guess is that something the police did or said shortly after they arrived must have made him realize his staging wasn't going to fly. And by that time it would have been too late to do anything more. I'm wondering how long it took before the spider web on the grate was noticed. It's also known that one of the policemen was looking for footprints and didn't find any. So it could have been something one of the policemen said that would suddenly have convinced John that his staging was about to backfire.

      He'd have run down to the basement. But there would have been no point in trying to displace the grate as the policemen had already noticed that neither the grate nor the spider web was disturbed. So the best he could do at the point was quickly clean up the glass as best he could, close the window, and begin concocting his story about breaking in earlier.

      The sequence of events could have been different. It's possible John was in such a panic that he just stopped thinking straight and improvised. Who knows? But he certainly DID lie about that window. And there has to be a reason why.

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    4. I think John decided to go the "unstaging" route rather than the "finish the staging route" for one very good reason. He wanted to keep the police and forensics experts out of that basement area for as long as possible. Many of us are taught at an early age "to prepare for the worst and hope for the best". Businessmen in particular adopt this point of view. John's mind was telling him the worst thing that could happen would be for the police and forensic experts to find JonBenet's body too soon. (This is another reason why I believe John was more cognizant of the contents in that suitcase than most people believe. But that's another story) In John's mind he was "preparing" for what was about to become a murder scene "hoping" that a "kidnappers" scene could buy him time. The question is, time for what?

      1) Time to allow "histrionics" to play out between investigators processing of the ransom note and the discovery of the body.

      2) Time to allow John to make some calls to attorneys, finance guys, bankers, friends, airports, etc.. in preparation for what would be at best a barage of interrogatory questions from the police, at worst his and Patsy's arrest.

      3) Time to get rid of evidence and/or finish staging JonBenet's body.

      4) Time to unstage or stage things upstairs that might direct suspicions towards a family member or intruder, respectively.

      5) Time to allow police and friends to contaminate the scene.

      6) Time to get a potentially problematic Burke out of the house.

      7) Time to think in general about other ways to make 2+2 look like something other than 4.

      John wrote the note posing as a kidnapper who was close to, if not part of, his family's inner circle. The idea of an intruder having got a hold of a key was not out of the question, but may not have dawned on John, until after he broke the window the night before, and after Patsy called 911, that that could always be the fallback method by which an "intruder" could have entered. That perhaps made it possible in John's mind to leave behind just enough evidence of an intruder to keep police distracted--but not so much as to lead them to conduct a full scale search of that basement the moment they arrived. Again, if an "intruder" HAS to be your defense, it's best to get the seeds already planted (by virtue of the ransom note) to take root and start growing as soon as possible.

      Thus, John leaves behind the suitcase, closes the window instead of leaving it open, and perhaps tampered with that Butler's door upstairs to provide a little extra focus away from the basement. A perfect balancing act by a businessman turned murderer. Did it work?

      1) John had his hour alone between 10:00 and 11:00 A.M.
      2) John made several calls.
      3) Patsy's wild and distraught behavior certainly worked to later cast suspicion more upon her than it did John, right?
      4) Friends, police, and serendipitously John himself, contaminated the murder scene.
      5) Lawyers had Patsy and John separated from each other and from police interrogations faster than you can say Jack Robinson.
      6) A potentially problamatic Burke got out of the house early on.

      I believe I read where BOTH the police and Fleet White independently said that when they went to the basement as part of a general search, it was ONLY to search for possible ways the intruder may have entered the house. Yet try to imagine what the police would have done had that window been "blown out" by an "intruder". The whole area would have been cordened off and searched, JBR would have been discovered, and John, and maybe only John, would have been arrested.

      Mike G.

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  10. well at least TT knew enough that the window story was hokey. right before he let JR leave the April 1997 interview he takes him back through that story again

    TT: OK. And let’s also hop back to the grate for just a second, cause I picked the grate up, it’s really heavy, I mean fairly heavy. Picked it up, moved it out of the way, kind of hopped down, I mean first peaked into that window, hopped down into that window well, you ended up, have to kick the window, break the window somehow, reach in and unlatch it. How far of a drop is it, or is it difficult I should say, to drop from the window well.
    JR: No.
    TT: It seem like it’s, for me I think it’s probably . . .
    JR: That high.
    BM: Do you want an estimate of that?
    TT: Certainly.
    JR: it’s probably, I don’t know, four feel maybe, five feet.
    TT: OK. But on the outside you’ve got that kind of skinny narrow window well. Did you have an difficulty sliding into that or sliding down the wall?
    JR: Yeah, well, as I recall, I did it at night and I had a suit on, and I took my suit off and did it in my underwear. But, it’s not easy, I mean you can get in that way, you get dirty, but.
    TT: It’s not a graceful way to get in.
    JR: No, no.
    TT: It’s difficult because of the angles.
    JR: Right.
    TT: All right.
    ST: Tom, let me just ask John this. Do you sit down and slide through, buttocks first if you will, through a window like that or, do you recall how you went through the actual window, John?
    JR: I don’t I mean, I don’t remember. Seems like, I mean, I don’t remember, but I think I would probably gone in feet first.
    ST: Feet first, backwards?
    JR: Yeah.
    ST: And when you went through in your underwear, were you wearing shoes or?
    JR: I still had my shoes on, yeah.
    ST: And were those with a suit, were they business shoes.
    JR: They were probably, probably those shoes.
    St: OK. And what are those shoes?
    JR: Business shoes.
    ST: And for the record, are those, brown lace-up, men’s business
    JR: Oxford, not these shoes, but they are shoes that I wear with a suit, just a pair of business shoes, dress shoes.
    TT: John, when you went down in the basement the first time and found the broken window, it was unlock, you latched it, did you notice that the window, excuse me, if you notice if the room was overly cold or anything like that?
    JR: No, it wasn’t. I didn’t notice that it was.
    TT: OK. And you were fully dressed when you went through the house/
    JR: Ah,
    TT: Considering what time of morning it was.
    JR: Yeah, I’m sure I was, yeah.
    TT: OK. You remember any lights on in the basement when you went down the first time?
    JR: Ah, no, not specifically, I don’t I mean, I don’t remember if any were on the first time.
    TT: Do you remember turning on lights?
    JR: Well, I would have had to to see my way around, I’m sure I did.

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    1. Hi Tina. For my comments on this dialogue see the following post(s).

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  12. Just getting into this blog after never really reading about the events or knowing anything about the case. You might bring this up elsewhere-- have you thought that perhaps John wrote in the RN to bring an adequate-sized attache because he was planning to use the hard Samsonite suitcase to secretly transport JB to the dumping ground, while still using the "adequately sized attache" as an excuse in case anyone witnessed him?

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  13. Like the above poster, I just found this blog, and it is fascinating! A question that I'm not sure has been addressed?
    Is it possible that if there was an intruder that the suitcase was used as a step to get back out of the window?
    If considering an intruder, that was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the photo of the suitcase placement.
    I'd love any feedback!
    Thanks,
    Signed K
    An novice sleuth fascinated by this case!
    BTW: just a note... I was the one that called in the Denver PD, and spoke to a detective about my observation that several comments in the kidnapping note were lines from the movie "Speed" such as" John, Do not attempt to grow a brain!"
    There were others I noticed as well. I later received a follow up call from a detective regarding my tip. Just my little contribution to this case.

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    1. What did the detective tell you on the follow-up call?

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    2. I think the suitcase was placed there to suggest that an intruder might have used it to boost himself out the window. But there were no signs anywhere that anyone had actually passed through that window, suggesting that the suitcase placement was intended as staging.

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    3. I agree Doc...see my long post above.

      Mike G.

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  14. Just found this blog. I have followed the evidence in this case from the beginning. To me the open basement window, lack of broken glass and the placement of the suit case solve the case. I have seen many well thought out ideas on the open window and suit case. For example: The window was found open because the intruder didn't close it. The window was the means of escape. The suit case was going to be used to remove the body from the home.

    For me the open window is part of the staging. No one entered or exited. Burke used the suit case as a stool to stand on allowing him to reach the window latch. The window could now be opened setting the stage for the intruder theory.

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