In addition to the errors by Woodward presented in my earlier post, she points to "intruder evidence" that was investigated and accounted for many years ago. For example, an "unidentified" hair found in JBR's bed turned out to be an underarm hair of Patsy's; an "unidentified" palm print turned out to be from Melinda; the Maglite found on the kitchen counter that "could not be traced" actually turned out to be from the Ramsey home; the Hi-Tec imprint most likely originated with Burke; and of course she repeats a bunch of nonsense from one of Lou Smit's old presentations that was thoroughly refuted years ago.
Woodward's take on the DNA evidence confuses me. As I reported earlier, she initially claimed that matching foreign DNA was found in three places, a blood stain on the panties, and under the fingernails of both hands. That contradicts reports that the three places were the blood stain and both sides of her pullups. Later in the book she returns to this evidence, but this time she "clarifies" by claiming that initial testing revealed a match between the fingernail DNA and the blood stain DNA, with the "touch DNA" on the pullups revealed later, in 2008.
As I understand it, the only DNA found in her fingernails was due to a contaminated nail clipper. I've never heard any mention of any match of that DNA with any other DNA found on her body or her clothing. My understanding, also, is that there were no skin cells found under her nails. Which is consistent with the consensus among forensic specialists that the head blow came first and she was unconscious when the "garrote" was applied. That's also consistent with strands of her hair found intertwined with the knotting.
Lou Smit once claimed that JonBenet "got a piece of her attacker," implying that she scratched him and caught some of his skin cells under her nails. If foreign skin cells had indeed been found in her nails, that would have been significant evidence indeed, and DNA extracted from those cells would almost certainly have been from her attacker. But obviously nothing of the kind was found. Another dubious allegation from the "master detective."
When reviewing the long list of possible suspects in her chapter titled "Who?," Woodward includes the Ramseys as well, citing Patsy alone; Patsy aided by John; and Burke, with his parents covering up for him. And once again, as we've seen so often, the possibility that John could have acted on his own, which was in fact the initial theory of the investigation, is never considered. She is satisfied with the fact that no pornography was ever found on John's computer and there was no evidence of any form of sexual deviation in his past. On that basis, she has no problem ruling him out. Incredible. Woodward never mentions the fact that clear signs of prior sexual abuse were found by a panel of pediatric experts. (See CC's guest post, Evidence of Chronic Sexual Abuse)
Oh, and as far as the movie quotations in the ransom note are concerned, she points out that Patsy and John never went to the movies, and never rented any movies other than typical children's fare. In view of John's many "business trips" to destinations all over the world, the possibility of his having viewed countless films while in flight or in a hotel room -- including pornography, by the way -- never occurs to her.
Especially intriguing is an appendix titled "Epilogue I," where she quotes from Commander Mark Beckner's Reddit interview of Feb., 2015. I give her credit for including statements that make his deep suspicion of "the Ramseys" quite clear. For every such statement, she provides an "Author's Comment" and sometimes a segment labeled "Perspective" as refutation. Literally every one of Beckner's responses is consistent with his view that he does not accept the intruder theory and sees the note as part of an effort to stage a fake kidnapping. Especially significant is what he has to say about the DNA evidence:
Reddit Participant: Can you comment on the usefulness of the new DNA testing that apparently exonerated the parents? I read Foreign Faction by James Kolar, and he asserts that the DNA in no way exonerates them … I’d be very interested to see a rebuttal, if there is one.”
Beckner: Sorry, I can’t provide the rebuttal, as I agree with Jim Kolar. Exonerating anyone based on a small piece of evidence that has not yet been proven to even be connected to the crime is absurd in my opinion. (Kindle Locations 5946-5950)A few days after this interview, Beckner issued an apology of sorts, claiming that he didn't realize this interview was being widely disseminated, and retracting what he had said about the DNA evidence -- in fact doing a complete about-face:
These answers about DNA are what Beckner retracted in the Daily Camera three days after his online interview session, as discussed earlier in this epilogue. Referring to the DNA findings he told the Daily Camera, “In my opinion, at this point, that’s your suspect.” Then, Beckner deleted his online interview including questions and answers. (Kindle Locations 5953-5956)Given Lin Wood's very frank confession, while being interviewed for the Dr. Phil show, that he had threatened DA Mary Lacy with a lawsuit unless she exonerated the Ramseys, it's not difficult to surmise that a similar threat was leveled at Beckner. I can see no other explanation for his sudden change of mind on a topic so central to the case.
To Woodward's credit she has obviously worked very hard to examine and evaluate a great many aspects of this case and there can be no doubt regarding her sincerity. She should also be given credit for airing all sides of the debate and providing valuable copies of hitherto unseen police reports and other material.
Nevertheless, hers is a thoroughly biased view and, as I've demonstrated, in her effort to exonerate the Ramseys, she repeats a great many erroneous reports and refers to much outdated "evidence," accounted for many years ago -- yet consistently fails to reference evidence and findings that might tend to implicate her "clients." While much in her book is useful, it's disturbing to see so much misinformation and misdirection being fed to the public once again. Readers new to the case should take everything in this book with a huge grain of salt, and consult other sources before jumping to conclusions.
Now for some highlights, including some surprises, that could make a difference in how we view this case:
Woodward alleges that a police report concluded that JonBenet partook of fruit cocktail, not simply pineapple, on the night of her death. If confirmed, this could make a huge difference to the theory presented in the CBS special -- and I wonder if the investigators will respond.
Woodward quotes a report confirming that housekeeper Linda Hoffman Pugh knew nothing about any broken window, but goes a bit farther, noting that her husband allegedly washed all the windows in the house around Thanksgiving. Since he would certainly have noticed a broken window, this puts yet another nail in the coffin of John's unlikely story about breaking the window months prior to the night of the crime. Interestingly, Woodward has nothing to say about the implications of the husband's window washing. John is so totally off her radar that she doesn't seem capable of processing anything that casts doubt on his innocence.
Linda Arndt's report, reproduced for the first time in an Appendix, contains no reference to any statement by John regarding what he supposedly saw in the basement on the morning after the crime, when he claims to have seen the basement window open with a suitcase flush against the wall beneath it. Since Arndt's report is almost compulsively detailed, it's hard to imagine how she could have missed such an important finding. Yet, in an interview with Katie Couric, he claims that he did give that information to Arndt, and she ignored him. Somebody lied.
According to Woodward, a neighbor found a latex glove in her garbage and had no idea how it got there. While the glove was apparently never processed by forensics, it does suggest the possibility that it could have been discarded by John while he went AWOL from Arndt on the morning after the crime. Other items could also have been discarded in neighbor's garbage cans during that time.