Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder of JonBenet Ramsey

The Interviews

On August 28, 2000, CNN reported that the long awaited "Ramsey interviews" with Boulder police finally came to fruition when Patsy Ramsey met with investigators for the first time in over 2 years. The meetings, conducted over two days, saw Patsy interviewed for a total of seven hours while the interview with John ran for just over two.

At the conclusion of the meetings, Ramsey attorney Lin Wood said his clients felt that "the line of questioning by the seven-member team was fair and pertinent to the case."

Prior to the meeting, Boulder police chief Mark Beckner had indicated that questioning "would focus on evidence developed over the last two years, some of which came from forensic testing conducted after the grand jury disbanded, and statements the Ramseys made in their book (The Death of Innocence)."

As before, when questioned if the Ramseys were the main focus of the investigation he would only say that they were "under suspicion."

The following day, via a faxed statement to CNN and other media, Beckner stated that the meetings between Boulder investigators and the Ramseys produced "less than we had hoped for." It is believed Beckner was referring to attorney Wood's intervention during the Patsy Ramsey interview, when he called the line of questioning by special prosecutor Michael Kane "overzealous" and "obsessive."

Beckner said his office had originally intended to explain to the Ramseys "what evidence we believed put them under suspicion, and explore whether they had any explanations for some of that evidence," but changed their minds when arguments between the respective attorneys broke out over questions concerning the couple's son, Burke.

Wood later told CNN that he had directed Patsy to answer all of the questions she was asked, except for the question about Burke, which he believed was irrelevant to the investigation calling it "the disgusting tactic of an overzealous prosecutor."

Chief Beckner countered, saying that Wood insisted on seeing the lab reports relating to forensic evidence before he would allow his clients to answer questions about them. At the time, Beckner refused, as he believed it "wasn't in the best interests of the investigation to release any further police reports on the crime."

He also disagreed with Wood's decision to release portions of the interview tapes to the media, stating, "It is not in the best interests of the investigation to release any portion of videotaped interviews or their transcripts," Beckner said. "In fact, it potentially harms our ability to find justice for JonBenet."

According to Wood, Patsy Ramsey felt the interview process produced nothing that would lift the "umbrella of suspicion" she and husband John have been under since JonBenet's death. John Ramsey commented that he and Patsy could "never clear our names, after what's been done to us." He added that he felt no animosity towards the authorities and was thankful that they were still pursuing the case. "The last thing I want is for this to go into a file drawer," he said.

Attorney Wood told CNN that the Ramseys were cooperating with the police and had handed over "significant information" as a direct result of having their own investigator working on the case full time. "We have given them leads. They'll have to determine if those people are viable suspects. That's a determination for the police, not this family," he said.

Wood also dismissed the suggestion that the meeting was just a publicity stunt, saying that the Ramseys had readily agreed to be questioned in the hope that they could help the police investigation. "Only a fool would subject themselves to questioning by seven investigators as some sort of publicity stunt," Wood said, "And my clients are not fools."

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