CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

JonBenet toxic gossip was in itself a true crime

We were all so sure. Weren't we? We were certain. It was a slam dunk.

We knew. Everybody knew. Anybody who doubted it—anybody who hesitated, even briefly, to pronounce that strangely furtive family guilty, to wonder why the cops didn't just slap the cuffs on those monsters without the annoying wait for actual evidence—was a fool, a chump, a moron.

Dad did it. Or Mom. Or maybe it was the other kid, that creepy brother. Wouldn't he have been crazy-jealous of JonBenet, his adorable little sister? Didn't she get all the attention?

Yeah. We had it all figured out, didn't we?

Late last week, authorities in Boulder, Colo., announced that a new technique for extracting DNA with greater sensitivity had yielded an irrefutable truth: The family didn't do it. You could almost hear an MSNBC anchor pause in mid-wisecrack and, while touching two fingers to an earpiece in puzzlement, say back to the control-room producer who had given him the update: "Huh?"

The parents and sibling of JonBenet Ramsey, the 6-year-old found dead in the basement of the family home in 1996, were definitively ruled out as suspects in the murder, which remains unsolved.

In a letter to John Ramsey, JonBenet's father, Boulder District Atty. Mary Lacy wrote, "We do not consider your immediate family, including you, your wife, Patsy, and your son, Burke, to be under any suspicion in the commission of this crime," according to published reports. Patsy Ramsey died in 2006, still suspected by many of having murdered her child. [Mark Godsey]

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If states could afford to use DNA testing on every inmate in prison, the number of freed men and women would be amazing. While this may not be economically feesable, it's a huge improvement that this type of evidence is possible.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 16, 2008 8:50:40 AM

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