Report: Grand jury wanted to indict JonBenet Ramsey parents

The parents of JonBenet Ramsey said an intruder killed her, but a grand jury reportedly felt otherwise.

A Colorado grand jury voted to indict the parents of slain child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey but the district attorney refused to proceed, feeling there was insufficient evidence, the Boulder Daily Camera reported Monday.

The newspaper, citing multiple sources, said the grand jury thought there was enough evidence to indict both John and Patsy Ramsey on charges of child abuse resulting in death. But Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter refused to sign the indictment, believing he could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, according to the report.

On Oct. 13, 1999, Hunter told reporters outside the Boulder County Justice Center: "I and my prosecution task force believe we do not have sufficient evidence to warrant a filing of charges against anyone who has been investigated at this time."

He did not mention that a grand jury had voted in favor of charging the parents, according to the Camera.

"We didn't know who did what," one juror, who was not named, told the newspaper, "but we felt the adults in the house may have done something that they certainly could have prevented, or they could have helped her, and they didn't."

Former Boulder First Assistant District Attorney Bill Wise confirmed the grand jury's vote to the Camera. "It names both of them, John and Patsy Ramsey," said Wise, who was Hunter's top assistant for 28 years.

The body of 6-year-old JonBenet was found in the basement of her family's home in Boulder on Christmas Day 1996. Suspicion fell on the parents, but they were never charged. The Ramseys blamed the slaying on an intruder.

Hunter, who left office in 2001, declined to discuss the grand jury's actions but told the Camera in an email statement:

"Colorado statutes, the ethical canons which govern the practice of law, and the Boulder District Court's oaths, instructions and orders in the JonBenet Ramsey grand jury proceedings, are well established and absolutely clear with respect to the various participants' legal obligations, duties and responsibilities, including the inviolate secrecy of the proceedings and the differing burdens of proof applicable to jurors and prosecutors.

"As the duly elected district attorney at the time and as an officer of the court then and now, I must respectfully decline further comment."

Boulder attorney Bryan Morgan, who represented John Ramsey through the conclusion of the grand jury process, told the newspaper, "If what you report actually happened, then there were some very professional and brave people in Alex's office and perhaps elsewhere whose discipline and training prevented a gross miscarriage of justice."

Patsy Ramsey died in 2006.


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