[Interview with the Ramseys on the Today Show; Date = Mar 21, 2000; source = Justice Watch Forum]
KATIE COURIC: Up until the point JonBenet's body was found and really for a period of time following that, the police treated you all as victims. When did you sense their view of you going from victims to suspects?
John Ramsey: Well we ... didn't realize that probably until a week later. But it was ... that change occurred I believe on the 26th of December. The real tragedy of this investigation was that it ended on December 26th with a conclusion that ... first I did it, and later it switched to Patsy.
Patsy Ramsey: And they kept saying that we were acting strangely or something. I don't know what acting strangely is.
John Ramsey: It was a flawed theory. The Boulder police were not experienced in homicides. They were not experienced in child murders. They were not experienced in kidnappings. I don't hold any of that against them. What I do fault them for is refusing the help in the beginning from people who knew what they were doing - the FBI, the Denver police - all of whom had a lot more experience.
A CONTAMINATED CRIME SCENE
Murder was rare in laid-back Boulder, and crime experts say that perhaps that explains the almost universal criticism of the Boulder police: that they made crucial errors when they arrived at the Ramseys' that December morning, errors like leaving just one detective on duty at the Ramsey home, letting the Ramseys and their friends mingle and wander freely through the house. The gravest mistake, they say: allowing John Ramsey himself to discover the body.
Katie Couric: One problem which we've heard about repeatedly is that the crime scene was contaminated.
John Ramsey: Mmm-hmm (affirmative).
Katie Couric: That's because you removed the duct tape, because you took JonBenet in your arms and took her upstairs.
John Ramsey: But what would you have done? If you had just found your daughter in the basement, in a ... grimy room in a cellar? If the police expected me to say, "Oops, I better not touch this, this is a crime scene," they're crazy. That was my daughter. I found her. I wanted to - take her back in my arms. 'We would have ... in retrospect, been better protected had they interviewed us in the beginning, had they taken us to the police station in the beginning.'
Katie Couric: But let me ask you about ... what outside observers consider as the biggest mistake police made. And that was that they didn't separate you and interview you the moment they arrived. The fact that they were too nice to you, they treated you with kid gloves because you were these fine upstanding wealthy members of the community.
John Ramsey: We would have ... in retrospect, been better protected had they interviewed us in the beginning, had they taken us to the police station in the beginning, had they taken our clothes in the beginning. By not doing that, they did as much damage to our ability to prove our innocence as they did to damage the ability to solve the crime.
Katie Couric: Would you have been willing to - to have been separated?
John Ramsey: Certainly.
Katie Couric: And interviewed on the spot?
Patsy Ramsey: Absolutely.
Katie Couric: And yet when they asked you to go to the police station on December 27, you basically refused.
John Ramsey: We ... let's clarify that. By this time, the house we were staying in was surrounded by cameras and reporters and photographers. And I said can't you please come here?
Katie Couric: With all due respect though, if this had happened to my daughter, and the police...
John Ramsey: You can't say that though. Because it hasn't happened to your daughter.
Patsy Ramsey: And you don't know.
John Ramsey: And you can't put yourself in my shoes.
Katie Couric: Many people might think, "Gosh, I would do anything necessary.."
John Ramsey: And we ...
Katie Couric: And if the police want me at the police station, then that's where I'm gonna go. Who cares about these cameras? We've got to do what we've got to do.
John Ramsey: Patsy had to be taken out on a stretcher, she could hardly walk.
Katie Couric: Were you on medication at the time?
Patsy Ramsey: I was. I was ... I mean, I just can't describe to you how I was. I lost the most precious thing in the world to me. And I was in no condition to go anywhere. I couldn't even talk hardly. It was awful.
LIE DETECTORS: 'VOODOO SCIENCE'
PR: 'I understand that lie detector tests are not admissible in court, anyway. It's kind of voodoo science.'
Katie Couric: Did you all take a lie detector test?
John Ramsey: We were never asked to take a lie detector test. That's another ...
Katie Couric: Why not volunteer to take one?
John Ramsey: I - that didn't occur to me, first of all.
Patsy Ramsey: I understand that lie detector tests are not admissible in court, anyway. It's kind of voodoo science.
John Ramsey: I would if I was asked, certainly I would. But the fact is I was never asked.
Katie Couric: And you never volunteered.
John Ramsey: I never volunteered - it never crossed my mind. I was not interested in proving my innocence, I was interested in finding the killer of my daughter.
Katie Couric: In your book you've written what you call a chronicle of cooperation. But let me give you - to challenge that, a chronicle of "uncooperation." In January you answer questions but only from the officers your attorney chooses and only at your attorney's office. And Patsy can only be interviewed for one hour. Police then cancel an interview in April because the FBI concludes that the conditions they've agreed on with you would make it unproductive. In other words ground rules, these things don't seem to add up to a great deal of cooperation with the authorities.
John Ramsey: Well - you've got to understand what our predicament was. We realized within a week that we were the only targets of the investigation. And any good attorney will tell the police look, if you're trying to get my client, go ahead, prove it. But you're not gonna talk to my client. The police concluded on December 26 that it must have been the parents because it's always the parents. An that became their conclusion. They solved the crime and then they just tried to prove it. So it was a very difficult predicament for us.
BUILDING A LEGAL TEAM
PR: 'In this country, if you're guilty, you need an attorney. But if you are innocent you had better have the best attorney that you can find.'
The Ramseys didn't submit to a formal police interview until April of 1997. Of course, under the Fifth Amendment, they were under no obligation to talk to police at all. But police felt increasingly they had something to hide - without ever being charged as suspects, they had hired two separate attorneys within weeks of the crime.
Katie Couric: In fact, that fact raised red flags.
John Ramsey: Absolutely. That fact probably was the kiss of death with the police.
Katie Couric: Do you wish you hadn't hired these lawyers or ...
John Ramsey: No, we're thankful.
Patsy Ramsey: When we were first introduced to them we said, "Why do we need attorneys? You know - I mean - why are they here?"
John Ramsey: No idea why we needed attorneys.
Patsy Ramsey: But let me tell you ...
John Ramsey: Two attorneys.
Patsy Ramsey: In this country, if you're guilty, you need an attorney. But if you are innocent you had better have the best attorney that you can find, because if somebody decides that they are out to get you, you are helpless without someone who knows the law.
Katie Couric: You all say you were targeted right away. That police ruled out all other suspects.
John Ramsey: Absolutely, I am convinced of that.
Katie Couric: They say they conducted at least 600 interviews and investigated about 70 people as possible suspects - along with an additional 54 convicted sex offenders. That doesn't sound as if they excluded everybody else but you.
PR:'What have we ever done in our past that would give anyone reason to believe we would kill our daughter?'
John Ramsey: Well their stated strategy in this case, stated publicly by the Chief of Detectives, Commander Eller, was that this was an elimination of the defense's investigation.
Katie Couric: So you think they were just going through the motions when they did all the ...
John Ramsey: Absolutely.
Katie Couric: These interviews.
John Ramsey: Absolutely.
FENDING OFF POLICE INCURSIONS
The Boulder chief detective said he was looking at leads and to shut down potential defenses. To the Ramseys the only 'potential' defense John Eller hoped to shut down was their own.
Katie Couric: You're a highly successful CEO, [a] take-charge guy. Why didn't you take the bull by the horns and say, "This is outrageous?"
John Ramsey: Katie, I was devastated. I was crushed. I was in shock. I was ... in depression.
Katie Couric: A lot of members of the prosecuting team ... many prosecutors, I think it's safe to say, not only believe that you are, should have been included as suspects, but many prosecutors feel that you committed this crime.
John Ramsey: Why - why?
Patsy Ramsey: Give me one reason? What have we ever done in our past that would give anyone reason to believe we would kill our daughter?
John Ramsey: A normal family does not live a normal life, in our case, my case for 52 years, wake up one night in the middle of the night, viciously slaughter their daughter, go back to bed and go on living normally.
HOLES IN THE PUZZLE
And yet - some things just don't make sense. There are no clear signs of forced entry - leading police to suspect the killer was no stranger. They also think the ransom note is bogus. Who would take the time to write a three-page note after committing such a heinous crime? And then there's the question of the 911 call.
Katie Couric: You called 911 at 5:52 a.m. Burke was asleep. And yet the tape of the 911, as you all know, was enhanced in a lab. And revealed a conversation in the background apparently between you, John, and your son Burke. How do you explain this?
John Ramsey: I have never heard that tape. The facts are that Patsy and I told the police that Burke, to our knowledge, was asleep and had been asleep until I got him up to go to Fleet White's house later that morning.
Katie Couric: So do you think this tape was somehow doctored or misinterpreted or what?
Patsy Ramsey: I think it is. It is.
John Ramsey: I don't know. We've never been allowed to hear it.
Katie Couric: Let me ask you about the ransom note. Why $118,000?
John Ramsey: Only the killer knows that.
Katie Couric: The same number as your bonus
John Ramsey: Approximately the same.
Katie Couric: Give or take just ...
John Ramsey: $400.
Katie Couric: Yeah.
FIBERS ON DUCT TAPE, A COMPLEX HOUSE
JR: 'We believe that a window in the basement was either an entry point or an exit point or both. That's my belief.'
Katie Couric: Why a three-page note, written on a pad found in your house with a pen found in your house?
Patsy Ramsey: Why not? If the fellow was in there from the time we left in the late afternoon to go to the Whites and returned. He was probably there for several hours.
Katie Couric: Why were the fibers on the duct tape found on JonBenet consistent with fibers from your clothes, Patsy?
Patsy Ramsey: I don't know. And I don't ...
John Ramsey: Again, what we heard was that they were ... some microscopic fibers which were consistent with a sweater of Patsy's found on the duct tape. There was also a lot of other fibers found on the duct tape.
Katie Couric: The press has reported that there was trace blood on JonBenet's underwear that didn't match you or anyone in your family, that there was DNA under her fingernails that didn't match anyone in your family. Now this evidence should have been exculpatory. It should have basically ... been used to clear your name. But experts say the problem is none of it can be dated. In other words it would have taken place long before the actual murder occurred.
John Ramsey: I look at the DNA as a huge clue. My belief is that that's the killer's DNA.
Katie Couric: It was reported that a team of investigators spent some time in your house and that afterwards one of them said that a stranger entering for the first time would need a map and a guide to find his way through that house.
Patsy Ramsey: Not true.
John Ramsey: Well, it was a complex house, but it wasn't that complex. And we believe the killer was in the house. We were gone for, what, four hours, five hours that night?
Katie Couric: And how did the killer get in?
John Ramsey: We don't know for sure. But we know that there was an open window, we know that there was an open door. We believe that a window in the basement was either an entry point or an exit point or both. That's my belief.