Former Police Chief Admits Insufficient Evidence for JonBenet Ramsey Trial, Mishandled Crime Scene
On a Reddit Ask-Me-Anything (AMA), the former police chief of Boulder, Colorado admitted that the investigation of the JonBenet Ramsey murder scene was mishandled, which could in part be why there was insufficient evidence to go to trial.
The 6-year-old pageant star was murdered in the basement of her family’s home around Christmas, 1996. Before JonBenet Ramsey’s body was discovered, her mother, Patsy Ramsey, reportedly called police and said that her daughter was missing, and she’d found a ransom note. When police arrived, they found the girl’s body in the basement.
In 1999, a grand jury voted to indict the parents for murder, but Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter refused to sign the indictment, stating that there was insufficient evidence to go to trial. Despite conspiracy theories, the Ramseys were released and deemed not guilty. They maintained their innocence to the present day. The grand jury’s decision was not made public until 2013.
However, in 2008, former Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy said that DNA evidence taken from JonBenet’s dress showed that the Ramseys’ home had been invaded by a stranger, and it was the stranger that murdered the child, not her parents. The Ramseys were publically exonerated.
During the Reddit AMA, however, former police Chief Mark Beckner said that his officers mishandled the crime scene, and that could have contributed to insufficient evidence to go to trial at all. He said: “I wish we would have done a much better job of securing and controlling the crime scene on day one. We also should have separated John and Patsy [JonBenet’s parents] and gotten full statements from them that day. Letting them go was a big mistake, as they soon lawyered up and we did not get to formally interview them again until May of 1997, five months after their daughter was murdered.”
“It was the Christmas holiday and we were short staffed, we faced a situation as I said earlier that no one in the country had ever seen before or since, and there was confusion at the scene as people were arriving before we had enough personnel on the scene,” he wrote online.
In another interview later regarding the case, Beckner added: “I think the only thing I would emphasize is that the unknown DNA [from JonBenet’s clothing] is very important. And I’m not involved any more, but that has got to be the focus of the investigation. In my opinion, at this point, that’s your suspect.”
Criminal Defense in Home Invasion or Murder Cases
If you have been charged for home invasion, manslaughter, murder, or another serious crime, you will need criminal defense as soon as possible. Defense of a home invasion or murder charge can hinge on a variety of factors, including insufficient evidence, factual innocence, unintentional injury, or the right to be on the property.
It is important to gather evidence in your favor as soon as possible, such as documentation that you are in good standing in the community (such as employment information and character witnesses); record significant events and potential witnesses; and exercise your right to remain silent. Then, contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Strom Law Firm for help. We will examine your case from every angle. Our firm offers free, confidential consultations, so contact us today for criminal defense representation. 803.252.4800