Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder of JonBenet Ramsey

Put Up or Shut Up

On August 31, 2001, CNN reported that Patsy Ramsey had issued a challenge to the Boulder police, via her attorney, that urged them to "file charges against her if they think they can prove that she killed her daughter."

Following the challenge, Patsy told USA Today, "I'm beyond being hurt or embarrassed, if you think I did it, let's have a trial and get it over with."

Ramsey attorney Lin Wood followed up on CNN's Larry King Live, when he demanded that Boulder County special prosecutor Michael Kane "explain why a grand jury did not indict either of the Ramseys after a 13-month investigation."

He added that Kane should either "put up or shut up" about charging the Ramseys.

Kane countered, saying, "I'm not going to be dictated, nor is the Boulder Police Department going to be dictated, by a demand by Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey or anybody else to put up or shut up. That's not how the criminal justice system works," he said.

He further stated that he "could not release any information about the grand jury proceedings without the court's permission."

During the King interview on CNN, attorney Wood and prosecutor Kane agreed to release the complete videotape of the interview and to seek the release of the grand jury transcripts, with Kane telling Wood, "I'll tell you what: If you will go to court with me, and ask the presiding judge to authorize a release of that information, I will release it."

Wood replied, "I will walk into that courtroom with you."

In another CNN report on September 1, 2000, however, the offer was recanted when Boulder prosecutors stated they would not be releasing the grand jury investigation transcripts. Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter later told CNN, "Colorado law prevents his office from releasing the information. The rule clearly states that grand jury proceedings are secret and shall remain that way until either an indictment is returned or a report is issued, and neither event has occurred," he said.

The following November, attorney Wood told CNN that he "hopes that newly elected Boulder district attorney, Mary Keenan, would publicly admit that there is no case against the Ramseys."

Keenan, who replaced District Attorney Alex Hunter after his retirement in January 2001, is a specialist in sex-related crimes and a 15-year veteran of the Boulder County District Attorney's Office.

In his statement, Wood fell short of asking for his clients to be officially cleared, but stressed that he would like "a public statement that the investigative efforts have been exhausted and there is insufficient evidence to bring charges."

In answer to Wood's request, Beckner said, "That's not something we would do."

Keenan was not available for comment.

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