1. Patsy Ramsey is responsible for the notorious "and hence" in the Ramsey Christmas message, a phrase that also appears in the "ransom" note.
- Not likely. The Christmas message was a collaboration between John and Patsy, so technically we have no way of knowing which of them wrote it. We do know, however, that John made use of it in the Newseum interview of Oct. 12, 2000 (this was online at one time, but the link is now broken, unfortunately): "The police as a gov-, …you know, the justice system is a government organization. And hence, should be looked at with some degree of skepticism, and, uh…and, uh…suspicion." I don't know of any place where Patsy is on record as using that phrase, and indeed it would seem uncharacteristic of her communication style, which always tended toward the colloquial and informal. John, on the other hand, tends to express himself in a more formal, and even academic, manner, so his use of "and hence" would not be surprising.
2. According to detective Steve Thomas, whose book focuses on Patsy, she deliberately avoided the manuscript form of the letter "a" after the murder, as that form was used so often in the "ransom" note. "Writing samples from Ramseys' personal letters and notes she wrote before the killing contain 732 manuscript "a"s that look like the lowercase typewritten "a," but they are written by hand. She switched to a cursive a after the murder." (from this article)
- Not so. There are many examples of Patsy's use of the cursive form prior to the murder (see, for example, her pageant entry form, which uses it exclusively). And I've counted nine instances of manuscript "a" in her London letter, which was, of course, penned after the murder.
3. JonBenet's head wound was produced by a golf club or a baseball bat, suggesting an attack by her brother, Burke.
- Not likely. The medical examiner saw no evidence of scalp trauma during the initial, external examination. It was only later, during the autopsy, when the scalp was lifted from the skull, that an "extensive area of scalp hemorrhage" was seen. A blow from a hard object such as a golf club would have punctured the scalp and drawn blood, but no sign of external bleeding was seen and in fact the medical examiner only noticed the head blow later, during the autopsy. As far as a baseball bat is concerned, I've seen someone accidentally struck very hard on the head by a baseball bat and it produced a huge, and very scary, bulge on the scalp. Again, no sign of any such injury was seen by the medical examiner. The most likely cause of the large crack across JonBenet's skull would be the maglite, with its heavy rubber tip, not likely to produce any scalp abrasions, but capable of cracking her skull if delivered with sufficient force. In this case, we are talking about a blow that's been described as powerful enough to fell a grown man. Since it's unlikely that frail, nine year old Burke was capable of inflicting such a drastic wound with a rubber tipped flashlight, Kolar's contention that he's the one who murdered his sister seems highly unlikely. The maglite, by the way, had been thoroughly wiped down, as were the batteries inside it, suggesting that this was, in fact, the murder weapon.
4. Patsy's handwriting resembles that of the "ransom" note.
- This one is especially hard to dispel, since it's so widely accepted, almost as an article of faith, by so many following this case. While it's true that some certified document examiners, as well as some self-appointed "experts," have found similarities between certain letters penned by Patsy and certain letters in the note, side by side comparisons of both documents and complete words reveal two very different styles -- as demonstrated several times on this blog, for example, here, here and here. There are, moreover, some highly questionable letter-by-letter comparisons to be found in the various reports linking Patsy to the note.
- Cina Wong, for example, has offered a long list of "matches," many of which don't really match at all, and there are others in which the significance of what appears to be a match is questionable. I'm not permitted to reproduce her examples here, due to copyright restrictions, but in one case she displays two letter "d"s that do indeed look very similar, until one blows them up to examine them in more detail. And when one does that one sees that the "d" in the note is formed with three separate strokes, while Patsy's "d" is formed with only two. So what can the purely visual similarity mean if the manner in which the letters was formed is different? Since Wong offers no explanation of how she decided whether or not any two letters actually match, and also takes no account of any mismatches, the count she comes up with is meaningless, since it could easily have been produced simply by cherry picking letters that might look similar to her and ignoring everything else.
- In another report, Wong's associate David Liebman observes that "the 2nd downstroke of the "X" is higher than the lst" in exemplars from both Patsy and the note. What Liebman fails to take into account is that the two "x"s look completely different from one another. All that matters to him is that one stroke is higher than the other in both cases. Since one can easily imagine that certain strokes are going to be higher than other strokes in literally everyone's handwriting, it's very difficult to see how he can count this as a match - but he does. Another similarity found by Liebman is his observation that "The left margin decreases downward" in some of Patsy's samples and in the ransom note. Wong also notes this same instance of "margin drift" in both. Only there is no margin drift at all in the ransom note. None. Some of Patsy's samples do in fact exhibit margin drift, which should count as a difference. But both Liebman and Wong count it as a match. My guess is that they were provided with a crooked xerox of the note by Darnay Hoffman -- and neither noticed that the "margin drift" in the note was an artifact of Darnay's hasty xerox method. Some experts!
- A considerable portion of Tom Miller's report is devoted to the letter "w." And again, what interests this "expert" is not any similarity between Patsy's hand and the hand that wrote the note, because the "w"s in question look totally different. In fact Patsy's "w" is written in longhand. What he focuses on is in fact a difference: "In Patsy Ramsey's strong [i.e., right] hand, the first cup of the "W" is squeezed and appears much narrower than in the second cup. In the QD, the opposite occurs as the second cup is squeezed and is thus narrower than the first." This should count as a difference, no? Not to Miller, who assumes that the note was written by Patsy with her "weak" (i.e., left) hand. In his view, "This opposite squeezing of the cups occurs as the opposite hand reverses a tendency of the strong hand much like a person making a check mark with the strong hand will reverse that same mark if made with the opposite hand." What is going on here? First, Miller is assuming the note was written with the left hand, which may or may not be the case. Second, he is already assuming the note was written by Patsy, since there is nothing in the comparison itself that tells us anything about whether or not she wrote it. And, yes, it is true that if it was written with the left hand AND if it was written by Patsy, then it looks like the reversal was caused by the shift from her "strong" to her "opposite" hand. However, if the note was not written by Patsy, then it tells us nothing at all. It's evidence that Patsy wrote it ONLY if we know ahead of time that she did in fact write it. Which is what he is apparently trying to demonstrate. If you think I'm exaggerating I invite you to check out Miller's report for yourself. The rest of Miller's report is equally questionable and once again, as with the others, based largely on little more than cherry picking. My analysis of his report can be found here.
- The bottom line regarding this particular myth: there is no real evidence linking Patsy's hand to that of the note. And in this case we can safely agree with the document examiners hired by the Boulder authorities, whose report, based on far more, and also more reliable, exemplars than the clearly inadequate ones used by Darnay's "experts," found little reason to suspect her of writing the note. As I've demonstrated, her writing looks nothing at all like the note and any resemblance between certain letters is probably no more meaningful than the resemblances one could find between letters written by all sorts of people using the same manuscript style. Similar "matches" have been found, for example, in the writing of Chris Wolfe, as demonstrated here in a very interesting video. The only reason so many see any resemblance between Patsy's hand and the note is due to the fact that they've managed to convince themselves of her guilt and have thus been in some sense "brainwashed" into seeing what they expect to see, or even in many cases what they actually want to see.