JonBenet Ramsey, the beautiful little pageant queen who was killed in 1996, captured the world's attention after the details of the case became more and more troubling. Found dead in the basement of her own home just after Christmas, her parents were immediate suspects in the eyes of many even though her mother, Patsy Ramsey, said she'd found a 3-page ransom note. No suspect was ever caught.
Though Patsy and her husband John were never official suspects, the grand jury felt differently. The couple were reportedly to be indicted on charges of child abuse resulting in death, but the District Attorney at the time, Alex Hunter, refused to sign the indictment due to lack of evidence.
“I and my prosecution task force believe we do not have sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of charges against anyone who has been investigated at this time,” Hunter said.
Charlie Brennan, a reporter for the Daily Camera, wrote a story about the case last year and discovered that the jury had voted to indict; since then, he's been working with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press on a lawsuit against the new Boulder DA, Stan Garnett, to get the documents released. The request has been denied twice before, but now it looks like a judge has agreed to hand them over. John Ramsey is not pleased.
"Public release of the allegations of an unprosecuted indictment only serves to further defame (John Ramsey) and his late wife Patricia Ramsey," wrote Ramsey's attorney, Harold Haddon.
In the initial lawsuit, attorney Thomas B. Kelley wrote, “The plaintiffs believe… that the indictment is a criminal justice record that reflects official action by the grand jury, and accordingly that it is subject to mandatory disclosure upon request. Alternatively, they argue the indictment should be disclosed to the public because such disclosure would serve the public interest in government transparency and not be contrary to the public interest nor cause undue adverse effect upon the privacy of the individual.”
The documents, which include nine pages each on John and Patsy, will be released on Friday.
"The court is sympathetic to the position of Mr. Ramsey but has nonetheless concluded that as an 'official action' of the grand jury, the 'indictment' .... must be released," said Judge J. Robert Lowenbach.