JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation

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9780312978617: JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation
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Finally, the information you've been waiting for: who really killed JonBenet?

Perhaps the most compelling murder case of our day, the death of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey galvanized the nation-and years after it occurred, the mystery still endures. Who killed the young beauty queen and why? Who is covering up for whom and who is simply lying? In JonBenet, the most authoritative and comprehensive study of the Ramsey murder, a former lead Boulder Police detective, Steve Thomas, explores the case in vivid and fascinating detail-pointing the way toward an analysis of the evidence some deem too shocking to consider. Here, Thomas raises these and many other provocative questions:

-How was the investigation botched from the beginning-and why did police so carelessly allow the crime scene to be tampered with?

-Why were John and Patsy Ramsey protected from early questioning and any lie-detector tests, even though their stories and behavior were erratic, suspicious and inconsistent?

-Why was crucial evidence ignored, why were certain key witnesses unquestioned by detectives, and why were the Ramseys privy to sensitive information about the case and even police reports?

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Review:

Let's answer the burning question straightaway: Steve Thomas believes that Patsy Ramsey is responsible for the death of her daughter, JonBenét, Christmas night 1996. As a key member of the team assigned to investigate the murder of the 6-year-old girl, the former detective knows the facts of the case as well as anyone, and the conclusion he draws is convincing and clearly presented. And, as it turns out, his theory about who may be guilty of the crime is just one of the shocking revelations in JonBenét: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation.

From the outset, it was a textbook example of how not to run an investigation: JonBenét's body was moved from where it was discovered before clues could be gathered, evidence was mishandled or removed altogether, the coroner failed to conduct routine procedures to determine time of death, and the crime scene was not sufficiently sealed off for hours after Patsy Ramsey's 911 call first summoned the police. In all, the initial response was inept, and it served to undermine the entire investigation; the utter lack of cooperation with the police on the part of John and Patsy Ramsey then compounded the difficulties. Within hours of the murder, the Ramseys had their own team of high-priced lawyers, who effectively insulated them from any direct contact with detectives. Nearly four months passed before police were able to question the parents at length, and only then on the condition that the Ramseys be given full access to police reports and evidence prior to the meeting. In essence, they behaved like suspects, and when Thomas and other detectives tried to determine the Ramseys' guilt or innocence, they were stymied every step of the way by Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter and those under his direction.

The hostile relationship between the police and the D.A.'s office slowed the investigation to a crawl, and, in Thomas's eyes, proved the principal reason an arrest was never made. Despite copious evidence against them and glaring inconsistencies in their testimonies, particularly Patsy's, the Ramseys were not even officially listed as prime suspects until March 1998 because the D.A. would not permit it. All the while, Thomas alleges, Hunter was leaking sensitive information to tabloid journalists and allowing the Ramseys' lawyers to dictate the direction and scope of the investigation. Thomas eventually resigned from the police department after exposing the D.A.'s mismanagement of the case, and a grand jury was called. But the grand jury investigation was ultimately undermined by the D.A.'s refusal to hear the testimony of several detectives closest to the case.

Somewhere in the midst of the politics, the legal wrangling, and the in-fighting between the D.A. and the police department, the central focus of this case was lost: justice for an innocent 6-year-old girl. Steve Thomas has returned that fact to the fore in this important book. --Shawn Carkonen

About the Author:

Steve Thomas received more than a hundred commendations and awards during his thirteen-year police career, including the Award of Excellence and the Medal for Lifesaving, for assignments ranging from recruit training and SWAT to special investigations and undercover narcotics. Prior to the JonBenet case, Thomas worked on a multi-state task force investigating racketeering and organized crime that resulted in numerous grand-jury indictments. Thomas has been a guest lecturer on criminal justice topics and instructed extensively on law-enforcement issues.

Don Davis, an award-winning news correspondent for thirty years, with assignments from Vietnam to the White House, has written a dozen books. His most recent is Last Man on the Moon, published by St. Martin's Press.

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