JonBenet Ramsey, who was six years old when she was found dead in the basement of her home in 1996, captivated the world with her beauty-queen smile and heartbreaking story. Her parents, Patsy and John, were the first suspects in the case even though they’d reported JonBenet missing hours earlier and said they had found a ransom note in their home. Ultimately, they were cleared of any wrongdoing, but a story reported in an issue of Daily Camera earlier this year said that the grand jury actually voted to indict the parents on charges of child abuse resulting in death, but that it was ultimately never brought to light because District Attorney Alex Hunter refused to sign it. Now, the reporter who wrote the story–Charlie Brennan–is working with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in a lawsuit against new Boulder DA Stan Garnett to get the indictment released.
“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,” attorney Thomas B. Kelley wrote in the lawsuit. “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.”
It doesn’t look good for Brennan, however, as Garnett has already rejected the plea for the indictment to be made public twice.
“We will respond to the motion in a pleading in court,” Garnett said Wednesday. “Protecting the integrity of the grand jury process is important to every district attorney.”
Members of the Grand Jury told Brennan that former DA Alex Hunter refused to sign the indictment because of a 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.
The jury felt differently, however.
“This grand jury, in effect, came up with a compromise finding, ‘No, it’s not murder,’ but, ‘Yes, we think they were responsible’ for the death based on abuse,” ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams said.
Patsy Ramsey died in 2006 of ovarian cancer; John reportedly lives in Atlanta. Both were exonerated in 2008 of any wrongdoing in JonBenet’s death.
Image: JonBenet Ramsey, Wikimedia Commons