[Transcript for Burden of Proof:Guest Pam Paugh; date = September 4, 1998; Source = Justice Watch Forum]
PP: My sister did not harm or kill her daughter, and my brother in law did not harm or kill his daughter.
SUSTEREN: It's been nearly two years since the beaten and strangled body of JonBenet Ramsey was found in the basement of her home. But, today, Boulder's most infamous murder remains a mystery.
PP: I do feel that she knew her killer, and I feel that she knew them well enough to go with them.
GVS:The aunt of JonBenet Ramsey speaks out about the murder, the investigation, and her relationship with her sister, Patsy Ramsey.
PP: I held her. I held John. I assured him that we were with him, that I loved him, and all Patsy kept saying to me was who would have killed my baby?
GVS: Hello and welcome to BURDEN OF PROOF. Roger is off today.
The murder investigation of JonBenet Ramsey has become the most well-known unsolved murder case in the American judicial system. The former little beauty queen was found dead on December 26th, 1996. More than 20 months later, the Ramseys are reportedly encouraging those close to them to speak about the case publicly. Patsy Ramsey told "The Parkersburg Sentinel," quote,"You can only turn the cheek so long. The few times we gave statements, they were shredded to pieces. People read into our body language. We want people to know the type of parents we are."
Someone very close to Patsy chose to share her thoughts with BURDEN OF PROOF this week. Pam Paugh told us what life is like for her older sister, Patsy.
PP: As you can expect, she is a woman who has been badly bruised and torn by the tragic loss of her child whom she dearly loved, as we all have. And she, like the rest of us, is making it day today, some days hour to hour.
GVS: When you say hour to hour, I mean, what is her life like right now?
PP: Well, her life, her daily life is consumed with obvious interest within the case involving the murder of JonBenet. But she does have a son to raise, and they have school projects. They have piano lessons. They have visits to my younger sister's home, time spent with my parents, time spent with me. And trying to go through the motions of being whole and being a family.
GVS: What is life like for your brother in law, John Ramsey?
PP: Well, John is a businessman at heart. And he's the bread winner of the family. And his time is spent doing those kinds of activities to see that his family is taken care of. But, of course, he is torn. He is a man in deep turmoil. I speak with him almost on a daily basis. He and I are very close. We share intimate feelings about what's going on, and as much as a sister in law can, I try to console him, let him know that we will get through this together, and there will be justice for JonBenet.
GVS: What's been John's sort of reaction to the fact that there is some suspicion been cast, for instance, in his direction?
PP: Well, those issues are very hurtful, as they would be if this had happened to you, Greta, I'm sure. It is not uncommon, I understand in these situations, that we do ultimately look within the family. Unfortunately in this country so many children are killed by family members, neighbors who are in the close proximity of the family and, therefore, in a child's mind might be considered family. But once that is done, and once facts are found, and that has been done completely and wholly, then it's time to move on. So, initially, I think there was a feeling of we know this must be done. As much as it hurts, I personally believe that as much involvement as I had in JonBenet's life, traveling with her, being with her, nurturing her, and loving her, I, too, might have some clues that can lead to some answers. And so we have fully cooperated.
GVS: You know, Pam, obviously, you've had to live and breathe this horrible tragedy for so long, and I imagine you have examined as much of the facts as are available to you, as well as spoken to your sister and brother in law. And the family must have a theory as to who committed this murder. What is the, sort of, the family theory as to who committed this murder?
PP:Well, I can't nor would I speak for my entire family. They have not asked me to do that. I have come to the public for personal reasons. And I will tell you a little bit about what my personal theory is. But, first, let me say that we do not sit around the kitchen table and discuss this on a daily basis. There are from time to time, during each of our lives in the family, issues that we must deal with on a daily basis, a phone call from the DA's office, a phone call from an investigator. These are things that we have committed to answering everything fully and wholly. And we do that as we are called to do that. But we do not sit around and say, well, what do you think, what do you think. It's just too painful. When times have been appropriate, when we are collected together, and we have been able to come to grips or make a comment or throw something by one another, it's been a part of our healing process to be able to do that. You see, it's still very hard for me to sit in a room with my sister and see the pain in her eyes and not be so totally angry that I don't just want to act that out. Personally I, like everyone else, has spent hours and hours, and I would say right here and now that I would assume the normal population goes to bed at night. There were months when I could not get in a bed. There were months when I could not go down a flight of stairs; not based on any facts, but just based on the sheer horror of this event.
GVS: Who do you think, though, I mean, obviously, this is an extraordinarily difficult, and I can see the pain in watching you respond to it, but who do you think would have committed this horrible murder? Who had the motive to do it or the reckless disregard for life?
PP: Very well put. In my opinion, and I have shared this with the authorities, there comes a point in your life when people are so close to you that I believe in some strange, odd way they consider they are a part of your family. But when they look themselves in the mirror and they realize that they want to be but are not, then who knows what goes on in the mind of these people. I honestly believe that JonBenet knew her killers or killer. That the motive is nothing more than the age old story of envy and greed and, as you say, a total lack of respect for life, a child's life. From the outside looking in, I can see how it would appear this fairy book life that my sister leads, a beauty queen from the past; everything she touches has been successful; everything he touches turns to gold; three beautiful children; two beautiful children with my sister; a wonderful loving family; a business that could see no end. And to some people with a rare form of mental dysfunction, I believe that that could so motivate them to be envious and jealous enough to want to destroy them. And, after all, as you say, a stage four cancer couldn't put my sister under and these heinous killers have tried to do that. They have tried to frame them, the evidence will show that, because mistakes were made. And I say that not from my heart but from knowing of evidence that exists which will prove that.
GVS: In my conversation with Pam Paugh this week, I asked her specifically who she believed killed her niece, JonBenet Ramsey. We'll have her answer to that question and her theories on the ransom note when we return.
Nearly two years into the investigation of JonBenet Ramsey's murder, friends and family members of John and Patsy Ramsey are beginning to speak out. Patsy's sister, Pam Paugh, says the killer or killers acted out of envy. I asked her who could have such malice and reckless disregard of life.
PP: The public doesn't know, but the killers know.
GVS: Do you know?
GVS: Who is it?
PP: For obvious reasons, Greta, my loyalty is to JonBenet, and at this point, I will not answer that question.
GVS: Have you shared it with the police?
PP: Yes, I have.
GVS: And do they intend to make an arrest, if you know?
PP: Alex Hunter, who is ultimately in authority and make no mistake, God puts people in positions of authority. Ultimately Alex Hunter, committed not to Patsy and John, not to myself and not to the public, he committed to JonBenet, who lost her life, that he would find justice for her. I believe wholeheartedly that he's an honest man. I am told that he is a moral man, is of good sound Christian values. I am trusting in that, and I know that he will do exactly what he said.
GVS: What's the key piece of evidence in this case, Pam? What points to the killer?
PP: Of the things that I am aware of, there are many.Of the things that the public is aware of, probably the most obvious that we all are aware of would be the ransom writing.
GVS: And who wrote the note?
PP: The killer.
GVS: Do you find it unusual that the police, at least we are hearing, say that the paper came from the house of your sister and brother-in-law, that the note was written at the house?
PP: No, I don't.
GVS: Why is that?
PP: Again, I go back to words that are to some pure adjectives: access, knowledge, intimate knowledge of the workings of the family, time spent with the family, knowledge of well, let's leave it at that.
GVS: Do you know who wrote the note?
PP: I don't know specifically which person.
GVS: Is it a group of people?
PP: I would rather not answer that.
GVS: How do you explain that the note was a ransom note suggesting a kidnapping but that a murder was committed?
PP: Oh, that I wish I didn't have to explain that one, Greta. I explain that by saying, it's all a part of the plan; a very intricately well-detailed plan to commit, perhaps, the world's first perfect crime. But unfortunately there is no or fortunately for us, there is no perfect crime.
GVS: How do you explain the fact that no one apparently heard this murder occur; that the family, that your brother in law was home, your sister was there, and Burke was in the house and that no one heard? I assume that you mean that there was an intruder into the house.
GVS: How do you explain the fact that nobody heard this?
PP: Well, first of all, I obviously think the intent was to be very quiet. There is a way of doing that with a child, unfortunately. I'm sure everyone at one point in their life has whispered to a child, which leads me to believe that JonBenet did, in fact, know her killer. Whether she was actually killed in her room, in another room, in that room in the basement, I don't have the specifics on that yet. I'm assuming that time lines and autopsies and that sort of thing will be best used to determine those issues. But I do feel that she knew her killer. And I feel that she knew them well enough to go with them.
GVS: But if you look at this ransom note, it almost suggest there was some sort of sinister group out to get John Ramsey. And yet, at the same token, you say that JonBenet knew her killer. I guess that I'm a little bit confused as to who this killer could be.
PP: Well, and I can appreciate that on your part, as is the rest of the world.
GVS: But you aren't. You think you know who the killer is.
PP: Killer or killers, yes.
GVS: And do you actually know them by name?
PP: I would rather not say that.
GVS: Pam, I'm sure you've heard the reports in the media that there has been an allegation and I underline the word "allegation" that JonBenet was abused. Do you know do you have any information on that topic?
PP: I can say emphatically, without a question in my mind, as can many other people who will and who have to the authorities, that child was never abused by any member of this family. She was loved. She was given opportunities that people at the age of 90 sometimes don't experience. This all leads back to my theory of envy and jealousy.
GVS: Up next: more sentiments from the aunt of JonBenet Ramsey and some discussion with our legal panel. Stay with us.
PP: I can say today, without reservation, my sister did not harm or kill her daughter, and my bother-in-law did not harm or kill his daughter.
GVS: Pam Paugh believes her niece knew the person or people responsible for this crime. Joining me from Denver, former prosecutor Robert Hardaway.And here in Washington, Scott Wordin defense lawyer Kenny Robinson and Laurie Klein. And in the back, Kim Robinson, Stephie Shipon and Cameron Robinson.
Kenny, let me ask you first; if you were the prosecutor in this case, how would you solve it?
KR: Well, like you said before we went to the air, I would put both of the Ramseys in the grand jury, see if they will take the Fifth or testify; lock them down to what they've said. They've had plenty of interviews in the past. It just seems like an incredible amount of circumstantial evidence, this phantom killer that the sister-in-law is talking about. Nobody left footprints in the snow coming or going, no noise in the house. She says one thing that's clearly true, that the girl knew who killed her, because it's probably somebody in that house. The handwriting in the house, a lot of circumstantial evidence. I guess they never got anywhere with the DNA. It looks like so much time has past that they must have botched something out there. I don't know the inside story on how the evidence was handled. Apparently it was a contaminated scene and all that.
GVS: Robert, you're a lawyer out in Denver,Colorado. Tell me whether or not that the Ramseys can be called before a grand jury. They do have a Fifth Amendment privilege, but is there a spousal privilege if one of them does fall within this umbrella of suspicion that we've heard about?
RH: There is a spousal privilege in Colorado; it's different from the federal rule. Under the federal rule, only the testifying spouse can claim the spousal privilege; in Colorado, either spouse can claim the privilege. However, there is an exception in Colorado in cases of abuse either of a spouse or abuse of a child. It's sort of the old common law doctrine of necessity. And they put the the purpose of having the spousal privilege is to protect the marriage relationship, but in Colorado the legislatures have decided that the interests of the safety of a child are paramount to or superior to that of the interests of preserving the marriage relationship.
GVS: All right, we need to take a break.When we come back, we're going to ask our panel how they would represent John and Patsy Ramsey.
GVS: For the first time since the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, John and Patsy Ramsey have given a green light to family members to speak publicly about the case.
Robert, is this a failed investigation or an ongoing investigation?
RH: Well, it's both. I suppose it's ongoing, but it's also definitely a failed investigation. I mean, there's absolutely the D.A. is acting like he's caught in the headlights. It's not fair to the people of the state of Colorado, it's not fair to the victim, and it's not fair to the suspects in the case.
GVS: Why hasn't it been solved? I mean, you know, it's rather shocking, at least to those of us who are some distance from Boulder.
RH: I'm sorry, would you repeat that?
GVS: Why hasn't it been solved, Robert? What's the problem?
RH: Well, they're not going to get any more evidence than they already have, and there's absolutely no excuse for not going before the grand jury or even going filing an information and indictment, and going to a preliminary hearing. They're not going to get anymore evidence, and whatever more evidence they are going to get is going to be more than outweighed by the fact that the evidence they have is going to get more and more stale. They need to just go. Go before the grand jury. The grand jury will make a decision to either indict or not indict. Then the suspects have some are have some kind of closure, and they need to do something. And if not, then the governor needs to appoint a special prosecutor.
GVS: Who is putting the stop on going to the grand jury, Robert?
RH: Who is going to stop them?
GVS:Who is putting a stop on going to the grand jury? HARDAWAY: Well, just the D.A. makes the decision, and he's simply not doing it. A grand jury has been convened, and the press seems to think that this was actually convened by the D.A. But as far as I can tell, this grand jury was convened by statue. In other words, every year a grand jury was convened; it does not appear to be convened specifically for the JonBenet. And the D.A. has simply not gone forward with any evidence or presented the case to the grand jury.
GVS: All right, Kenny, in the few seconds we have left, what's your legal advice to Patsy and John Ramsey.
KR: Well, to keep quiet, because I think the only way they're ever going to be indicted is somebody's going to come forward someday, because there's no statute of limitations, and say that they made an admission somehow, some way that they were involved; and it'll reopen the investigation. It could be some disgruntled screwball who actually lies. That's the only way they'll charge them, in my opinion, and try to get them convicted.
GVS: Yes or no, there should be a grand jury and they should move on it fast?
KR: They should have a grand jury, and the question is in Colorado I don't see that there's sufficient probable cause to bind them over and to take them to trial. The prosecutor doesn't want to go out there and lose this case, and so I guess that's what he's doing. He's squirming; he don't know which way to go.
GVS: You get the last word, Kenny, because that's all the time we have for today.
Thanks to our guests, and thank you for watching.