The parents of JonBenet Ramsey were indicted by a Colorado grand jury on charges of child abuse resulting in death, but never prosecuted when then-Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter refused to sign the document, in 1999. Now, the newspaper reporter who uncovered the indictment and a journalism advocacy group are suing to get the indictment released by current Boulder DA Stan Garnett.
"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 complaint, referring to Boulder Daily Camera reporter Charlie Brennan and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "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."
JonBenet’s murder shocked the country when she was found dead in her Boulder home on Christmas 1996. Suspicion immediately fell on the 6-year-old girl’s parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, but neither they nor anyone else were ever charged after Hunter said there was a lack of evidence in the case three years after the child beauty queen’s death.
Before filing the lawsuit, Brennan and the Camera, which is not a plaintiff in the suit, requested that Garnett turn over the indictment on two separate occasions. The paper and the reporter were rebuffed on March 18 and June 27.
"We will respond to the motion in a pleading in court," the DA told the paper Wednesday. "Protecting the integrity of the grand jury process is important to every district attorney."
Shortly after JonBenet’s murder, John and Patsy Ramsey moved to Atlanta. Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer in 2006 at age 49. John Ramsey remarried in 2011.