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.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Reading the Oracle

Well, as we now know, the Oracle has spoken. And, as with a great many Oracular Utterances, this one is definitely cryptic. Brief, but hardly to the point.

Patsy and John Ramsey, each indicted separately, "did ... permit a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation which posed a threat of injury to the child's life or health which resulted in the death of JonBenet Ramsey." And, in a second indictment both parents, also indicted separately, "did ... 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."

How disappointing! From what we'd been lead to believe the official indictments were going to be accompanied by several pages of explanation -- but the judge decided to release only those pages signed by the jury foreman, a total of four indictments, two directed at John, two directed at Patsy, both sets identical. We can still hope that the remaining pages will eventually be released -- or maybe leaked, as were so many other documents we've seen over the years. But for now all we've been permitted to see are the very brief and also very puzzling indictments themselves.

Nevertheless, what we do have does tell us something, though naturally there will be varying interpretations of what that something is. Here's my take:

First of all, I think we can all agree that the GJ was not taken in by the intruder theory so eagerly promoted by Lou Smit. If they'd accepted the intruder theory there would have been no indictments at all. It's equally clear that they didn't buy into Steve Thomas's theory that Patsy killed JonBenet by accident. An accident is not the same as "murder in the first degree."

As for the rest, what we see is particularly confusing and also frustrating, because the indictments appear to imply the existence of some third party who actually committed the crime, aided and abetted by the Ramseys. And, as one might expect, the general consensus on the forums seems to be that Burke Ramsey is that party -- the idea being that since he was too young to be indicted the GJ had no choice but to indict the parents for aiding and also covering for him, but were constrained from actually naming him, as he was a minor.

I seriously doubt that. First of all, the authorities made clear from the start that Burke was not a suspect, so it's unlikely the prosecution would have offered any evidence suggesting his involvement, and without any such evidence it's hard to see how they could have found probable cause of his guilt. Second, the indictments contain references to first degree murder, and also to child abuse. Burke, as a minor, could not have been accused of first degree murder, since that requires intent, which a 9 year old would presumably be incapable of. Also "child abuse" is a term typically directed at adults, not children.

Even more significant: if the GJ saw probable cause that the Ramseys had been working together to cover for Burke, they would certainly both have been accused of conspiracy -- but that's not what was in the indictments. Each parent was indicted separately, with no hint that they had been working together in a coverup. The absence of any accusation of conspiracy also suggests that the GJ was not assuming the presence of some other third party in the house, some "friend" or associate who committed the murder, aided and abetted by the Ramseys. Again, if that was what they thought happened, the Ramseys would have been accused of conspiracy.

So how to interpret the actual wording of the indictments, which seem to imply the existence of some murderer that John OR Patsy, but not John AND Patsy, aided and abetted? Interesting little mystery here, no?

As I see it, the GJ was struggling with the difficulty of deciding which of the two Ramsey adults actually committed the crime, and which was the one who "rendered assistance" to that person. So it looks to me like the indictments represent a kind of compromise. Since it must have seemed clear to them that either John or Patsy was the killer, and it also seemed likely that the other one aided and abetted that killer, it may well have seemed safe to indict both of the lesser charge. Perhaps they were hoping the truth as to who actually murdered JonBenet would come out in the trial, as both parties would have been under great pressure, and one might have agreed to testify against the other.

Clearly, Alex Hunter would have been a fool to attempt a prosecution under such circumstances, because you can't come to a jury with two suspects, either of which might have committed murder, and you can't prosecute someone for aiding and abetting unless you can prove who that person actually aided and abetted.

Imo no one aided and abetted the actual murderer. It's clear, to me at least, that John acted alone. But since John had been "ruled out" as writer of the note, the jury had no choice but to assume Patsy wrote it, which implied that either she was covering for John or that she did it and he was covering for her. But as there was no proof either way, there was never any truly prosecutable case.


29 comments:

  1. BDIs have been quick to interpret that BR is the "third person". IMO, the jury was not contemplating a third person. The separate indictments are identical, except for the names. They charged both with exactly the same crimes either because they thought both were in on it in all aspects, or more likely, imo, they couldn't figure out who did what, and as you suggest, they hoped it would all come out at trial.

    I would think that the wording of legal documents is carefully chosen. So in a BDI scenario, how could either parent be charged with "assisting" in a crime when no crime could be charged?

    IOWs, in order to find either parent guilty of assisting someone in a crime, There would have to be a finding, at trial, that there was in fact a crime committed. And the finding would have to be against BR if he were the person assisted. Yet we know BR could not be charged, much less tried, so there never can be a finding that he committed a crime in which PR/JR could assist.

    This may seem like splitting hairs, but I'd suggest lawyers are careful about the wording of legal documents. It would seem an easy and effective defense for JR and PR would be to simply move for summary judgment based on the fact that no crime has been shown to be committed, therefore no assistance could have been rendered. If the GJ believed JR and/or PR were involved (and obviously the GJ did) I don't think they'd leave them such an easy out.


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  2. Well at least they were on the right track and did not fall for the absurd intruder theory. Reading JR's various accounts of breaking into that window (sliding through that small window in his underwear ---- really???) sealed that for me. But I am confused about all this legal stuff. Are we past the limitations to ever prosecute JR (obviously they cannot prosecute PR since she is deceased)? Does DA Lacy's letter exonerating both parents prevent future prosecution? I think all of us following this case for so many years would like to see justice for JBR, but I have long feared that will never happen due to legal restraints. From what I hear, JR lost his business, money and certainly his reputation. Hopefully he has suffered over these losses, not to mention the loss of his daughter. I wonder if he has any remorse at all?

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    1. I think the case could be reopened and prosecuted only on the basis of a major breakthrough. And as I see it, a decision to re-examine the conditions under which John was "ruled out" could lead to such a breakthrough. Because I see no valid basis, scientific or otherwise, for that outrageous decision. The prosecution could argue that the case had been thrown into confusion by a serious investigative error, which, when corrected, leaves no other option but to prosecute John Ramsey. The DNA "evidence" could easily be refuted by expert witnesses who actually know something about DNA, compared with Mary Lacey, who knows zilch. Once it's established that the DNA "evidence" is inconclusive, then Lacey's exoneration means nothing.

      They would then need to focus on John's testimony regarding the basement window, beginning with his failure to report that he found the window open and failure to report that he saw the suitcase propped up against the window wall, moving from there to his obvious lies regarding his claim to have broken the window at an earlier date. The prosecution would need to establish that his story was a feeble attempt to establish an alibi pointing away from the fact that he broke the window on the night of the murder, to stage an intruder breakin.

      It would not be necessary to consider Patsy's role, as she is now deceased, so the question of why she would support his version of what happened need not be considered. I feel sure she was totally innocent and was being manipulated, but there would be no need for the prosecution to get into that. Unless, of course, John's lawyers would be so foolish as to attempt to argue that John was "only" covering for Patsy -- or Burke -- but I seriously doubt they'd try such a lame tactic.

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  3. Just found you a few days ago and gotta say I'm highly intrigued (as I am lately with ALL things JBR related) and I'm glad I DID. I am 57 years old and recall this murder quite vividly, but for some inexplicable reason it all hit me quite suddenly & extremely hard about a month or so ago and now I just cannot let it go. Bought Kolar's book and could not put it down....read it in a matter of as little as 1/2 day....and have been on a complete JBR internet binge since this "issue" re-reared its ugly head back into mine. In any event, I just wanna say thanx for all the research, time & effort ya've put into this blog. It truly is appreciated.

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    1. You're welcome. (Any relation to MeanJoeGreen?)

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  4. I received the following via email, from someone who asked me to post it for her, so here it is:

    Prior to today, I really had no opinion as to "who did it" but the release of the GJ indictment got me Googling and eventually I found my way into your blog and have spent the day catching up. It is now 5:00 pm on Saturday and while I've been completely intrigued all day, I have accomplished absolutely nothing of a practical nature.
    I became fixated with the ransom note and I am devoted to your theory that JR is the "who did it" but while I haven't read all of the comments on your blog, I wonder if you or any of your fans have come away with the same thoughts that I have. The ransom note in several instances actually pays tribute to and compliments JR. The statement that "we respect your business...", referring to him as a "fat cat" and possessing "good southern common sense". If JR did write the ransom note, and I believe he did, and if your theory is correct and Patsy and a select few friends were the only ones he originally intended to read it, he clearly wanted for them to see how incredibly important he was. So important that he was the target of a "foreign faction". I came away feeling like John was the victim and the subject of the letter, not JonBenet. What are your thoughts on the arrogance displayed in the letter? And what the heck is a "foreign faction" anyway?
    I wasn't able to post a comment from my iPad so if you would be so kind... Thanks, I'll look for your response --- I am now addicted to your blog!

    Regards,
    AuntBee539

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    1. Thanks. I'm afraid I'm addicted as well. Tried to shake the habit several times and then just decided to give in and just blog away.

      You have an interesting take on the ransom note, because if John wrote it (and I feel sure he did), it does seem to express the thinking of a very self-absorbed individual. Unconsciously, of course, but it's definitely there.

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  5. absurd RDI theory which has been debunked with multiple lines of forensic evidence for those of you who think the parents Patsy or John murdered Jonbenet you're wrong.

    It was an intruder.
    over at the crimeshot forum

    I believe home-invading serial pedophile and killer Mr. Cruel murdered Jonbenet Ramse

    http://www.crimeshots.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11934

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    1. If you read the first two posts in this blog, you'll learn why I'm convinced there was no intruder.

      I went to the crimeshot site and read what you've written about "Mr. Cruel." Interesting.

      However, you make the same mistake that James Kolar makes when he implies, in his book, that Burke did it. You go to a lot of trouble demonstrating that it was POSSIBLE for Mr. Cruel to have committed this crime and even that it was consistent with certain aspects of his MO. But, as with the assertions regarding Burke, you don't actually present any evidence at all linking this person to this particular crime. Obviously there IS no such evidence. In order to claim that someone last known to have been in Australia was even living in the Boulder area, much less committing murder there, you would need to do a LOT more digging, which clearly you have not done.

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    2. The evidence is overwelming that an intruder murdered Jonbenet

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    3. What evidence did you have in mind? Give me some examples.

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    4. do u have a websleuth account?

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    5. You know, I'm not sure. A couple years ago, some things I wrote angered someone and all my posts were deleted. Even the thread I'd started was deleted, including everyone else's posts on that thread. I decided at that point not to bother with WS anymore.

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  6. I could swear I posted this question about the window, but now I can't find it or your response. Your blog is massive! (And I love it.) Forgive me if this is a repeated question:

    I don't quite understand your theory of JR's "unstaging." We know the window was discovered broken. Your theory is that JR broke it in an attempt to stage the basement and make it look like the place an intruder entered, but when his plan was thwarted because of PR's 911 call and he lost his opportunity to remove the body, he had to then UNSTAGE the scene in the basement and that's when he admitted to breaking the window the summer before. Just because the body is still in the house, why would he feel the need to cover the broken window with his (lame) story of having broken it himself? After all, the body is bound to be eventually found and JR would still want the police to think an intruder did it. Why would he then take responsibility for breaking that window? Why wouldn't he want police to think the intruder did it, especially since there were no other signs of forced entry?

    If the police bought that story and believed JR broke the window himself, then we are left with wondering how an intruder got it and the intruder story is exactly what JR wants us to believe. By lying about the window, JR takes away a major point of the intruder theory.

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    1. I realize the blog has gotten really large and difficult to navigate. It's not always easy for me to find things either. Sorry about that. However, you can always use the search mechanism at the upper right to find details that might interest you. I use it often myself. It works like a kind of index, if you can find the right words to search.

      What you say about the broken window is in all likelihood what the investigators thought as well. Why would John claim he'd broken that window earlier if he broke it the night of the crime to stage an intruder breakin?

      As I see it, this was a classic misdirection, conceived no doubt on the spur of the moment. And it saved John's butt.

      Consider the fact that the police saw no sign of forced entry at that point. And yet they also noticed (how could they not?) the broken window. So if John did not make up his story about breaking in earlier, then what could that broken window mean?

      Clearly no intruder entered or left via that window. There was no sign any of the dirt and grime on the sill had been displaced. Moreover, they noticed an undamaged spider web connecting the outer part of the grate to the lawn. So no one could have even entered that window well on the night of the crime. Add it all up and it points to only one thing: someone already inside the house that night must have broken that window. Meaning the window could only have been broken by someone staging a phoney intruder breakin. Patsy and John would have been arrested and charged immediately.

      So what DID actually happen? As I see it, there is only one explanation. John broke the window the night of the crime and then either didn't have time to complete his staging or naively expected the police to accept that window as an intruder's entry point. After Patsy destroyed his plan by calling 911, he must have realized at some point that his window staging wasn't going to fly. His epiphany might have come when he saw the police closely examining that spider web on the outer part of the grate. Suddenly realizing that his staging was about to backfire, he hit on a desperate plan: misdirect away from the window by claiming he himself had broken it on an earlier occasion.

      By making up that story he 1. explained away the suspicious break in the glass; 2. he confused the investigators into wondering why he'd stage a breakin and then make up a story that UNstaged that same breakin. And it looks like his last minute plan worked. They bought it!

      But if you read the transcript you'll see how absurd his story is. Smarter detectives would have figured it out sooner or later, but not these guys.

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    2. Hello, I am new to this blog and I think it is amazing. Could you ,however, explain two things to me?
      1. So, your saying that John lied to them about when the window was broken to get them to say "Why would John lie about the window if it would be convenient to say that the window was broken last night, clearly he is not the killer".It just doesn't make since, that someone would think that way.
      2. Why didn't anyone hear the window breaking? Breaking a window at night tends to make a loud noise. People would say that they heard a window shattering.

      Sorry if this come of as rude. I just want to answer some questions.

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    3. You're not being rude, as far as I'm concerned. Your questions are legitimate.

      1. The reason John lied was to prevent the authorities from realizing he broke the window himself THAT NIGHT. If he hadn't lied about breaking it earlier, the truth would have been obvious and he'd have been arrested on the spot. As far as the rest of it is concerned I don't think that was necessarily part of his plan, but it does explain the reasoning of the investigators. They were willing to buy into his absurd story because they failed to understand why he would make up such a story if he'd been staging an intruder breakin. The thought that his story was actually an alibi appears never to have occurred to them.

      2. To break a window quietly, you place a towel over it and a pillow under it and gently tap with a hammer or something similar. And don't forget, the basement window was a long way from any of the bedrooms.

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    4. If the window was broken "that night" as you assert, why did the police vide of the basement shortly after the crime show old cobwebs on the broken glass still in the window. To any rational observer that window was broken a long time before the murder, consistent with John's story.

      It is most plausible that he would lie and say an intruder broke the window if he was covering up a crime. There is no plausible reason he would admit to breaking the window a long time before unless that was the truth. I have no idea what you mean by explanation no. 1 above. How would the truth have "been obvious"? Do you mean by physical evidence?

      Your theory about breaking the window quietly is an interesting one, but there is no physical evidence in this case to support this theory. You are engaging in what Thomas and Kolar did--speculation based on your own experience. Remember, you need to follow the evidence. None supports this assertion.

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    5. Spiders don't weave broken webs, or loose strands of webbing, they weave complete webs. What the video tells us is that there must have been a spider web on that window before it was broken. What we see in the video is the remnants of that web.

      It's a knee jerk reaction to assume that a cobweb always means that something is old, but in this case the strands we see tell us nothing about how old, or new, the break was.

      For details, and an interesting still from the video, see here: http://solvingjonbenet.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-basement-window-part-4.html

      What explanation 1 says is very simply this: if John had not claimed he broke the window at an earlier date then the question hanging out there would be: who then broke it and when? And the only logical answer would have been that it had been broken by someone inside the house to stage an intruder breakin. Why is that so hard to understand?

      Read what I wrote in that blog post and if you have any further questions by all means post them here.

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  7. Ahhhh . . . I get it. Thank you for another great explanation. The point I was missing was that the authorities concluded that no one entered that window. I thought this was a point of debate (we can thank Lou Smit for that confusion). But if, during that initial examination of the window and window well, the police concluded no one went through it, then, yes, it makes sense that JR would have to back paddle quickly and give an explanation for the broken pane --- that he broke it months earlier.

    No need to apologize for creating such an intriguing blog! The only reason it's massive and sometimes hard to navigate is because you have so many followers and because you always respond to everyone's comments. I appreciate that and I know others do as well. I've said it once and I'll say it again . . . you need to write a book! You once said you didn't think there was much interest in this case anymore. Are you kidding?? Look at your blog.

    Thanks for continuing to write and answer our questions about this murder mystery of the century.

    I remain,

    Addicted.

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  8. I wonder what counts 1,2,3,5 and 6 were. The DA must not have felt comfortable releasing those counts.

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    1. I think all the counts had been prepared by Alex Hunter, to give the GJ a choice of different possibilities. So the remaining counts that were not released were probably not signed as "true bills," and would therefor have been irrelevant. I could be wrong, but that's what seems most logical to me.

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  9. If the GJ rejected the two theories presented, as you stated, are you aware of any alternative theories that were presented to them? Or can a GJ formulate their own theory based on the evidence presented to them?

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    1. I'm not aware of any alternative theories they were presented with, no. All that sort of thing has been sealed, apparently. But I do think the GJ would be free to formulate any theory they could agree on and indict on that basis if they so chose, yes.

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  10. I have an inquiry, DocG.

    I'm unfamiliar with the finer points of justice & prosecution.

    When a citizen like yourself publishes such a sound theory in a public forum, & thus people become re-interested in the crime (as evidenced by recent comments) -- could the case ever be reopened on that basis?

    Or is JR immune from all future legal scrutiny (assuming no new evidence pops up) due to the original botched nature of the investigation?

    DT

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    1. Good question, DT. The problem is that so many people have come up with so many different theories that the authorities literally don't have time to sift through all of them to separate the wheat from the chaff. And even if the DA or Police Chief did go over this blog and even if they did tend to agree with me, it would take an awful lot of courage to once again open up this huge can of worms -- and take on John Ramsey's very high powered and aggressive legal team in the process. They would also need to take on all the many people who feel so sure Pasty was involved, or that Burke was involved, or that it was an intruder. So they would be stepping not only into a hornet's nest, but actually several hornet's nests, each consisting of all the many who've convinced themselves that this that or the other theory HAS to be IT.

      They would need a sure fire smoking gun to do this and there is in fact no direct evidence linking anyone to the murder or coverup.

      What I have been urging them to do is at the very least re-investigate the decision to rule John out as writer of the note. Because so many of the alternative theories hinge on that. Once it becomes clear that John can't be ruled out, then a path is opened to a reinvestigation of the case in a much more straightforward and sensible manner than before.

      I also happen to think that John's obviously fictitious story about breaking the window earlier opens the door to a prosecution that would not be vulnerable to reasonable doubt. But it would take an extremely aggressive and dedicated DA to pursue such a course in the face of all the many obstacles.

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  11. Hello DocG,

    greetings from Germany!
    Everything make sense to me now. Great job you did.
    sorry for my poor english.
    I am sooo happy that you have solved this case.
    Many thanks!

    Mina

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