JonBenet Ramsey: D.A. Refused Trial In 1999
Still unsolved: New findings report a grand jury indicted JonBenet Ramsey's parents, but the district attorney refused to prosecute.
It It was a beautiful Christmas Day in 1996 when the shocking news of JonBenet Ramsey traveled across the nation: The child beauty queen was brutally murdered. The odd and confusing evidence surrounding JonBenet's death lead many to suspect Ramsey's parents were involved — somehow — in the death of their youngest child.
Justice seemed possible in 1999 when Boulder, Colorado District Attorney Alex Hunter took the JonBenet murder case before a grand jury. Hunter later told the press the road to a guilty verdict was cut short due to lack of evidence. Hunter said that late October day, "I and my prosecution task force believe we do not have sufficient evidence to warrant filing of charges against anyone who has been investigated at this time."
Hunter misled the press: A grand jury had, in fact, indicted JonBenet Ramsey's parents just a short while earlier of child abuse resulting in death. It was the district attorney's office that declined to move the case forward despite a green light from the Ramsey grand jury results.
Hunter refused to sign the grand jury statement — an issue legal experts debate was either unethical, improper procedure, or common — and instead told the press he could not move forward with JonBenet Ramsey case with evidence currently available.
A local Boulder newspaper that first broke the story talked to University of Colorado law professor Mimi Wesson, who expressed concern over Hunter's decision to effectively hide the grand jury findings from the public.
Wesson explained that the district attorney should have signed the grand jury's statement and then moved to have the case dismissed against JonBenet Ramsey's parents in open court if he believed the charges lacked sufficient evidence. Wesson told the Daily Camera, "That would be the more transparent and responsible course, in my opinion."
Instead, Hunter simply would not sign the grand jury's statement and never informed the press that the grand jury had elected to move forward, but he in good faith could not.
The JonBenet Ramsey case remains open.
Photo courtesy of Erik S. Lesser / Getty Images