Hear, Hear!

Below is an article by Wendy Murphy on the recent apology from the DA on JonBenet's case. It was printed in the The Patriot Ledger and also picked up by the Associated Press. I had the honor of working with Wendy on projects and also had her for a class called Sexual Violence while in law school. She has been such an inspiration to me - she is wicked smart and is sincerely passionate about victims' rights. She receives alot of criticism (from defense attorneys which is no surprise) but take it from someone who knows her well - she is genuine and a strong voice for Survivors. I'm sure I will receive a lot of "hater" emails and comments because I am posting this. I receive them every time I mention even her name! She is sincere but not infallible. She makes mistakes like the rest of us - but the work she has done and continues to do sets her apart. She has fostered change and remains committed to continuing to do so.

D.A. should apologize to JonBenet, not to her parents
By Wendy Murphy
Fri Jul 18, 2008, 05:52 PM EDT
The Patriot Ledger

Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy recently “cleared” the Ramseys in the death of their daughter, JonBenet. The 6-year-old was found dead in the basement of her home the day after Christmas 1996.

Much of the evidence has not been revealed to the public, but enough is out there to raise serious questions about Lacy’s decision.

First things first.

It’s hard to feel confident about anything Mary Lacy says. Remember, she’s the one who accused John Mark Karr of murdering the child even though there was no evidence the guy had ever even been to Boulder, Colo.

Here’s some food for thought (much of this is in my book, “And Justice For Some”):
Police told John Ramsey they found black wool sweater fibers inside the underpants JonBenet was wearing when her body was found, fibers that matched the Israeli wool sweater John was wearing on the night in question.

Ramsey had no explanation for how the fibers could have gotten there, so he just yelled and filibustered – a common tactic when the suspect doesn’t want to, or can’t, answer a particular question. If the facts were different, he might have said the sweater fibers got there through laundering. But the sweater was never washed – it was wool – and the underpants were three sizes too big and had never been worn before.

The “touch DNA” on the long johns that everyone’s talking about couldn’t have been a “match” to a DNA fragment found in the underpants. The fragment didn’t have enough markers to provide a “match” to anyone. In any case, everyone knows that while DNA can establish that a person was at a particular place, it cannot tell us when, how or why the contact was made.
The autopsy says the child’s vaginal mucosa showed “chronic inflammation” and “epithelial erosion” and that the hymen had been “eroded.” This means JonBenet had suffered past repetitive penetration. There were also “acute” injuries – meaning there was also penetration on the night in question. If the person who killed the child is the one who caused the prior injuries, it had to have been someone with ongoing intimate access.

Three search warrants were executed for the Ramsey homes and computers during a search for child pornography. Some items were seized. What were they?

JonBenet had undigested pineapple in her belly at the time of autopsy, which means she ate it within two hours of death. She died after midnight. The Ramseys told police they brought her home at about 9:30 p.m. and that she was sound asleep. They said she stayed asleep and they put her to bed. A bowl of pineapple was found on the kitchen table. Patsy’s fingerprints were found on the bowl. Both parents adamantly denied giving the child pineapple.

Why? What’s so bad about admitting that you gave your child pineapple? The bowl was taken by police, and presumably tested. What were they looking for? Did they perform drug tests? Why? What were the results? Why were the Ramseys asked about the presence of a variety of sedatives in the home, such as Klonopin?

Within minutes of finding the child’s body, John Ramsey was on the telephone with his private pilot making arrangements to leave for Atlanta. He told police he had business he needed to attend to. He and his wife hired criminal lawyers that same day and refused to submit to separate police interviews.

These facts – and so many more – may not prove the Ramseys’ guilt. But they are relevant and the public now has a right to demand full disclosure of all the evidence to determine whether Mary Lacy has done her job properly.

If Lacy feels confident about her decision, she will gladly release at least some evidence to the public.

If, on the other hand, Lacy knows what she did was wrong, she will refuse to release the files, claiming there’s an “ongoing investigation.”

If there were a legitimate concern about the investigation, Mary Lacy would not have revealed so many details about the “touch DNA” tests. Even if there’s a reason to keep some facts secret, there’s no reason to hide the results of tests conducted on the bowl of pineapple. The real killer already knows whether he put something in the pineapple to sedate the child.

The harder Mary Lacy tries to ignore the public’s demand for full disclosure, the harder the public should push for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

So help me God, JonBenet deserves it.

Patriot Ledger contributor Wendy Murphy is a leading victims rights advocate and nationally recognized television legal analyst. She is an adjunct professor at New England School of Law and a radio talk show host. She can be reached at wmurphy@faculty.nesl.edu.