[Transcript transcribed by myself using my own personal VCR]
Date of Show = May 2, 2001
KC= Katie Couric
KC: On Day 3 of our exclusive in-depth look at the investigation, Veteran homicide detective Lou Smit expands on his theory that contrary to popular belief, JonBenét's parents J and PR, did not commit this crime. Smit believes based on 18 months investigating the case for the Boulder DA's office that somehow an intruder killed the 6yo girl by strangling her in the basement of her family's home. once again we will be showing you evidence including autopsy photos that has never been seen before. We should note that some of it is graphic and may be quite disturbing. Even J and PR have not seen this material though they are aware we will be showing it.
This is the house where J and PR lived in Boulder CO. And this is the room in the basement where, according to homicide Det LS, the most gruesome aspects of the slaying occurred on Christmas night 4.5 yrs ago. Smit's theory is that JB was stun gunned in her bedroom, then brought to the basement, sexually assaulted, strangled with a garrote, and struck by a brutal blow to the head in that order.
LS: the person who killed JonBenét sexually assaulted JonBenét, that's in the mind of the killer. He did stun gun her, he did build a specialized garrote to kill her, this is in the mind of the killer. Why he did all these things I don't know. But JonBenét died a very brutal death in the furthest corner of the basement of that house and then she was thrown into a moldy room.
Katie this area is blocked off now but this used to be a door that led into the wine cellar.
KC: and this is where JB's body was found.
LS: that's where her body was found. And it's only a very short distance from here to there ("here" to "there" he is pointing to the corner apparently he believes where she was killed).
KC: why has this been covered up.
LS: I don't know that is the preference of the people that are taking care of the house now and I don't know why they blocked it off...
KC: they're trying to sell it so maybe it was just too gruesome...
KC: Nothing is as gruesome as these never before televised autopsy photos showing how JB was strangled with a nylon cord. If there were ever any doubts about how brutal the murder was these photos lay them to rest
LS: this final garrote positioning is very deeply embedded in the neck of JB. The depth of the ligature mark is buried in her neck is very red in color. That means that JB was alive at that time. if you tried to embed that in her neck after she's dead you're going to have a white mark.
KC: According to Smit the garrote used to strangle JB was very intricate in its design. A tool he believes the killer used for murder and for pleasure.
KC: was the garrote used for sexual, some kind of weird sexual act or was it used as a killing device.
LS: I think it was both. First of all, you don't make something like that unless it's in your mind. You don't make something like that unless you know how to make it. He was fantasizing about using this on JB. He placed it around her neck, he was controlling her and violently applied it to strangle her. And she was trying to get it off of her neck. Again, this is a personality of the killer. Just the way that the ligature on her hands was constructed again is a fantasy in the mind of this killer. This wasn't just tied on her wrists with little granny knots on both sides and the rope tied there. The way that this was constructed was to make two loops with a tether about 15" in between. The loops were then placed over the hands of JB with a slip knot and tightened to give the appearance of bondage.
KC: Smit believes the evidence shows that the 6yo girl was also sexually assaulted. This crime scene photo shows a paint tray outside the wine cellar. Smit says the killer took a paint brush, not just for the garrote, but also to molest JB.
LS: Now why a family member would have to take their child down to a dirty, filthy, cluttered basement, and murder her in the farthest reaches of this basement by putting together a complicated garrote, sexually assaulting her, putting duct tape on their daughter's mouth, tying her hands up and then throwing her into a moldy filthy room and leaving her there, sure you can say it could happen but the chances of that happening I believe are extremely remote.
KC: isn't there always a first time
LS: Sure there's a first time. But again there would have to be a first time for everything in this case if that was the case.
KC: in fact, LS's theory is at odds with that of another former detective on the case, Steve Thomas, who contends that in a fit of rage, PR fatally struck her daughter on the head, and later strangled her in an effort to cover up the crime.
LS: guilt is not determined by ST, innocence is not determined by LS. That's a jury that does that.
KC: Sheriff's Det Steve Ainsworth also worked with ST during the JBR investigation.
KC: ST wrote a book about this espousing his theory about what transpired that night.
SA: I heard that
KC: what do you think of him as a detective
SA: the work that he had done before this was all in narcotics. And that is a unique position in that your suspect is already identified and you go about getting the evidence to prove whatever violation you suspect him of. And in a homicide investigation or almost in any criminal investigation, it's kind of putting the cart before the horse. You need to follow the evidence and then develop a suspect rather than the other way around. I think that he became, not necessarily over zealous, but he had a difficulty in shaking that way of investigation because if you do it for awhile it's very difficult to make that transition.
KC: Smit who has worked over 200 homicide cases, believes strangulation was the cause of death, not part of the staged cover-up. he says his theory is reinforced by a medical condition called petechia found during JB's autopsy.
KC: she had something called Petechia.
KC: what is that and why is it significant
LS: Petechia is seen in strangulation cases. What happens is that when a person is strangled the small blood vessels in the eye burst causing little pinpoint hemorrhages in the eyes, and these are called petechia. JB did have these pinpoint hemorrhages in her eyes. This only occurs when a person is being strangled while they're still alive. You don't get petechia after a person is dead.
KC: why'd he hit her on the head
LS: well again the person who did this wanted JB dead no doubt about it. That blow to her dead was extremely forceful. It is a large displaced fracture to the right side of the head of JB. It extends all the way from the back of her head all the way to the front of her head. The person who did this wanted to brutally kill JB. that was [probably one of the last things that this person did prior to throwing her in that room.
KC: the BPD asked Dr Michael Doberson a coroner to study autopsy photos of JB. HE believes there would have been much more internal bleeding inside the brain if JB had been struck first and strangled later.
MD: I would disagree with the theory of the BP that any of the changes that are seen in the autopsy assoc. with the ligature strangulation are staged in any way.
KC: Det Smit says whoever killed JB left a lot of clues behind at the crime scene. Fibers, hair and DNA. Evidence that Smit says doesn't match up with anyone in the Ramsey family.
LS: when you have an autopsy one of the things that they do is they do clip the fingernails. And in the fingernail clippings they did find DNA. The primary source of DNA belonged to JB and that may have been accountable for her trying to get the garrote. But a secondary source was also found in both the samples from the right hand and the left hand and foreign DNA is foreign to JB but it may can point a very strong finger at who may have done it. Also they found DNA in JB's panties. She had bled during the sexual assault portion of the crime. Again primary source they know that's JB, it was her blood. But there is also a secondary source of DNA, again foreign, and it matches the DNA in the fingernails of her hand. This is now in 3 areas.
KC: when you say foreign it means not belonging to John, patsy or Burke Ramsey
LS: that's right. The point of it, is there is foreign DNA. There is common foreign DNA. It is not John, it is not Patsy, it is not Burke. So just to take this and say it's degraded and throw these critical clues away you can't do it. You have to plug these clues into the intruder side of the story as well. If they matched the Ramseys I'm sure that would be very conclusive evidence that one of them did this. But you just can't throw it away you have to put that into the intruder side of the story and it's very strong evidence.
KC: Smit says that hair found on this blanket covering JB's body following her murder is another key piece of evidence.
LS: one of these hairs is going to be very very significant in this case at some time. It is a Caucasian hair found on the blanket right that was on JB. But whoever left it there better have a very good reason for being in the basement. So far it has not been identified by anyone. Could it just be a random hair? Sure. But could it be the killer? Yes.
KC: this hair did not belong to any of the Ramseys.
LS: that's right. It has been tested against the control samples that were submitted by the Ramseys and it does not match theirs.
KC: there were reports that there were red fibers found on JB that matched a sweater PR was wearing.
LS: PR was sitting on the same blanket probably that night when she changed JB's clothing. I'm not saying that you should throw this evidence away you just have to give it the weight that it's supposed to. And in court, if it ever were to go to court, this would be argued back and forth. But as a Det looking at the case that's part of this that I'm looking at what would perhaps point towards the Ramseys. But again the majority of the information that I see in this case points at the intruder. But I'm not going to just disregard those fibers.
KC: perhaps more chilling according to Det Smit, the evidence he says JB's murderer did not leave behind. The paint brush, the stun gun, and pieces of paper from the note pad the ransom note was written on
LS: people perceive the Ramseys to be guilty, not because of evidence but because of perception.
KC: tomorrow Det Smit will take us through a closer look at that ransom note and what he believes it says about the killer. And we should note that former Det ST, Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner, and Boulder DA Mary Keenan, all refused our requests for interviews.