[Date of letter = December 19,2001]

Ex-Ramsey investigator's statement assailed

In your Dec. 18 story, "When 'the system' falls short," News staff reporter Charlie Brennan quoted one of the former investigators for John and Patsy Ramsey, H. Ellis Armistead, as saying that he had quit the case because I, as the Ramseys' lawyer, had misled the public.

"By that time, the case was being run out of Atlanta," Armistead is quoted as saying. "The attorney there was telling the public that their investigators had 'startling new revelations,' and I knew that wasn't true. "I felt it was misleading, and that's just not the way I would choose to conduct an investigation." Armistead's statement about me is totally false and constitutes a malicious attack on my professional integrity and credibility. I challenge Armistead or your newspaper to find any public statement attributed to me that is even remotely similar to the statement described in the article. [The News, in an extensive search of publications, could find no such statement.] The truth is that I never stated publicly that Ramsey investigators had startling new revelations. I have never misled the public, and that also applies to any statement I have made about the Ramsey case. To the contrary, in my almost 25 years of practicing law, I have always adhered to the standard of addressing legal and factual issues in a candid and forthright manner -- whether in a court of law or in the court of public opinion.

The Ramsey family hired me in September of 1999. Armistead was employed by the firm of Haddon, Morgan & Foreman. I am unaware of any work performed by Armistead on the Ramsey case from September of 1999 until the date of his public resignation from the case in June of 2000.

Based on my review of the quality of the work performed by Armistead and members of his firm, I would not have even considered hiring him to assist me in the Ramsey case. Perhaps that best explains his false and defamatory attack on my professional integrity in your Dec. 18 article.

L. Lin Wood
Attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey
Atlanta, Ga.