A Colorado judge has ordered Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett to release the 1999 indictment against the parents of murdered child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey in response to a lawsuit by a Boulder reporter and a journalism advocacy group.
JonBenet’s murder on Christmas 1996 captivated the country and suspicion immediately fell on the 6-year-old’s parents, John and Patsy Ramsey. While it was only recently revealed that JonBenet’s parents were indicted, then-Boulder County DA Alex Hunter refused to sign the indictment, claiming a lack of evidence in the case. Nobody has ever been charged in the tot beauty queen’s death.
Charlie Brennan, a reporter for the Boulder Daily Camera, and the journalism advocacy group Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press sued Garnett in an effort to release the indictment in the JonBenet murder case.
Boulder County Senior District Court Judge J. Robert Lowenbach ruled Wednesday that the indictment, currently under seal, will be released Friday to Brennan and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
John Ramsey, who has since moved to Atlanta and remarried (Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer in 2006,) argued that the entire record of the grand jury, not just the indictment, should be released. But Lowenbach did not agree.
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“Such an action would set a precedent that would impede other grand juries in performing their functions under statute and rule,” the judge wrote. “Further, transcripts of proceedings as well as other evidence submitted to a grand jury do not constitute official action … and cannot be released."