The Today Show
Katie Couric: It's been over just four years since the death of Jon Benet Ramsey. While there is yet to be an arrest in the case, police officials say her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, remain under suspicion for the murder. Last week a 50 million dollar lawsuit was filed against them by Boulder resident, Chris Wolf, who the Ramseys named as a possible suspect in their book, "The Death of Innocence". Darnay Hoffman is the attorney for Chris Wolf and Lin Wood represents John and Patsy Ramsey.
Good morning to both of you.
Lin Wood: Good morning Katie
Darnay Hoffman: Good morning Katie.
Katie Couric: Okay, let me start with you, if I could Mr. Hoffman. Why have you all decided to file this 50 million dollar lawsuit against John and Patsy Ramsey?
Darnay Hoffman: Well actually um it was filed back in May and there was a recent decision by a judge that the Ramsey motion to dismiss this case should be denied. Uh, the importance of that decision is it means that Chris Wolf can now start in the long road back to reclaiming his reputation. Uh the Patsys complained early on, the Patsy Ramsey and John Ramsey complained early on in the case that they didn't like the fact that the media and other people had accused them what they believed falsely of the murder of their child. And yet they turned right around and did the same thing ah, in their book. In fact a federal judge said that the reason this case has to go forth is that the Ramseys in fact did accuse people who may very well be innocent of this crime.
Katie Couric: But they, they didn't make this up though ah Mr. Hoffman out of a whole cloth. I mean this man's girlfriend came forward said that he was acting strangely ah on the night of the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey. He was in fact questioned by the Boulder Police Department back in 1997 in connection with this case. So for them to include him or to consider him a possible suspect it seems they do have some merit to their argument. Don't they?
Darnay Hoffman: Actually no. The Ramsey's have no business trying to uh discuss this case in terms of other suspects. They are the only suspects in this case. The governor of Colorado even went out and talked about the fact that he felt that the Ramseys were not being helpful in this case he he uh pleaded with them to come back to Colorado irrespective of what the consequences of that act would be and help this investigation. They are the only named uh people under a so called umbrella of suspicion by the police. They have always been the chief suspects by the police. There haven't been any other suspects.
Katie Couric: Alright Lin Wood let me read you quote from page 205 of The Death of Innocence written by John and Patsy Ramsey. Whatever the police's intentions, Wolf went on our suspect list. He represented too many unanswered questions.
Lin Wood: True.
Katie Couric: But do you understand Mr. Hoffman's point that they should not be pointing a finger at Chris Wolf that the police say he is no longer under suspicion and that he has they have basically damaged this man's reputation?
Lin Wood: Well the idea that John and Patsy Ramsey have damaged Chris Wolf's reputation is ludicrous. Uh Chris Wolf was brought to the attention of the Boulder Police Department in January of 1997 within a month of the murder by his then live-in uh girlfriend Jackie Dilson who thought that Chris Wolf was involved in the murder. The reason he was investigated was because of his girlfriend. And it wasn't John and Patsy Ramsey that first notified the public about Chris Wolf. Chris Wolf uh was the subject of an article in 1997 in the Boulder newspaper discussing the fact that he was a suspect. He was written about in Lawrence Schiller's book "Perfect Murder Perfect Town" described as a police suspect. Now look, John and Patsy Ramsey uh they in fact did have investigators and still have investigators and they did look at Chris Wolf for good reason.
Katie Couric: Do they still consider him a suspect in this case?
Lin Wood: I think the term that the investigators use uh is he is a lead and he's still a lead that needs to be reviewed. There are unanswered questions about Chris Wolf. If you look at his history and this is a former male stripper; a person who's been arrested for indecent exposure. Uh Chris Wolf didn't have a reputation to start with. Uh but certainly stating truthfully that Chris Wolf was a suspect is not the basis for a liable lawsuit unless you have a lawyer who for four years has tried to interject himself into the Ramsey case and that's Darnay Hoffman. This isn't the first lawsuit that Darnay Hoffman has filed in this case. He himself has sued John and Patsy Ramsey for libel.
Katie Couric: And before we get
Lin Wood: And he sued Alex Hunter, the DA.
Katie Couric: Before we get his response, I want to reiterate Linn, a senior official in the Boulder Police Department told us only yesterday that Chris Wolf is no longer under suspicion but John and Patsy Ramsey continue to be.
Lin Wood: Well, listen, you could walk into Mark Beckner's office, the Chief of Police in Boulder with a sign that says, "I killed Jon Benet Ramsey" and unless your last name was Ramsey, uh Chief Beckner's going to show you the door and tell you he's got other things to deal with. We have presented information to Mark Beckner in the last two months about an individual who actually called and confessed involvement in the crime. And what did Mark Beckner do? Nothing! They don't check out any leads. They don't consider anyone under suspicion unless it's John or Patsy Ramsey. That's where they've been looking since day one. Yet, they've never had evidence to support that theory. Never a charge brought. Never an arrest made. No Grand Jury indictment. That's the theory of Mark Beckner. It's not supported by evidence.
Katie Couric: Mr. Hoffman, I want to give you an opportunity to respond to some of the things that Mr. Wood has said.
Darnay Hoffman: Well first of all, federal judge disagrees with Mr. Wood completely. Which is the whole point of last weeks decision. The judge believes the Ramseys are in fact attempting to uh name people who may very well be innocent in their book of a murder that they may themselves have very well committed.
Katie Couric: In fact, Mr. Hoffman, you're including the ransom note in your lawsuit against the Ramseys, why?
Darnay Hoffman: Well, the ransom note is a very important part of our lawsuit. In order to establish one of the elements of liable we have to show that Patsy and John intentionally and knowingly uh published this material with the complete knowledge that Patsy Ramsey in fact wrote the ransom note. So we included some uh forensic analysis of the note along with a copy of an exhibit sheet that shows a very close proximity between the uh hand writing in the ransom note and the handwriting by Patsy Ramsey.
Katie Couric: How concerned are you about that, Mr. Wood?
Lin Wood: Not at all. Let me read to you from a report by a member of the United States Secret Service who was hired by the Boulder authorities to look at the ransom note ... to look at Patsy Ramsey's handwriting examples and her historical writings which numbered in the hundreds of pages that were presented to them. Richard Dusack, United States Secret Service said, "There was no evidence to indicate that Patsy Ramsey executed any of the questioned material appearing on the ransom note. Now look, that's a document examiner for the United States Secret Service hired by the Boulder Police who reviewed the note and he said Patsy Ramsey did not from any indications write that note. Uh the people that Darnay Hoffman has presented ... have been presented to the Boulder Police and they rejected them and would not allow them to testify because they were not qualified. They are not legitimate document examiners and their testimony probably will not be even admitted in a court of law.
Katie Couric: In closing, what's the Ramsey's reaction to this and do they have the money? Lin Wood: Well no, they don't have the money. That's another misconception that continues to exist about the Ramseys. They're not wealthy. The money that John Ramsey had worked hard to accumulate is gone. Uh, their reaction? Uh they wonder if this will ever end for them. They wonder how the justice system works and whether or not it really can ever be fair to them. On the one hand, subjected to this media trial by the police and the media accusing them of a crime they've never been arrested for, charged with and didn't commit. And then they have to put up with the likes of Darnay Hoffman and the frivolous lawsuit filed by Chris Wolf. So I think they spend a lot of time wondering what type of justice system we have in this country.
Katie Couric: Alright we're out of time. On that note, Lin Wood ... Darnay Hoffman, gentlemen, thank you both for talking with us this morning. We appreciate it.