For more than a decade, trips through the checkout aisle at the grocery have meant seeing tabloids proclaiming that Jon Benet Ramsey was killed by her family members — usually her mother. It's been a popular theory throughout, revisited every time there's been some nugget of information about the case.
Yesterday the Boulder County District Attorney stepped up and said that such speculation was bullshit.
The Boulder District Attorney’s Office does not consider any member of the Ramsey family, including John, Patsy, or Burke Ramsey, as suspects in this case. We make this announcement now because we have recently obtained this new scientific evidence that adds significantly to the exculpatory value of the previous scientific evidence. We do so with full appreciation for the other evidence in this case.
Local, national, and even international publicity has focused on the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. Many members of the public came to believe that one or more of the Ramseys, including her mother or her father or even her brother, were responsible for this brutal homicide. Those suspicions were not based on evidence that had been tested in court; rather, they were based on evidence reported by the media.
It is the responsibility of every prosecutor to seek justice. That responsibility includes seeking justice for people whose reputations and lives can be damaged irreparably by the lingering specter of suspicion. In a highly publicized case, the detrimental impact of publicity and suspicion on people’s lives can be extreme. The suspicions about the Ramseys in this case created an ongoing living hell for the Ramsey family and their friends, which added to their suffering from the unexplained and devastating loss of JonBenet.
For reasons including those discussed above, we believe that justice dictates that the Ramseys be treated only as victims of this very serious crime. We will accord them all the rights guaranteed to the victims of violent crimes under the law in Colorado and all the respect and sympathy due from one human being to another. To the extent that this office has added to the distress suffered by the Ramsey family at any time or to any degree, I offer my deepest apology.
That's highly unusual and highly admirable. I'd have loved it if he'd called out some specific media outlets for criticism, but I'll take what I can get. The problem with America's insipid Dateline-NBC true-crime fetish is that it encourages the public to form purely emotional beliefs in the guilt or innocence of people speculatively connected to crimes.
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