On a brilliantly clear autumn day more than 13 years ago, Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter stepped to the podium before an anxious media horde to announce that the grand jury investigation into the death of JonBenet Ramsey had come to an end.
"I and my prosecution task force believe we do not have sufficient evidence to warrant a filing of charges against anyone who has been investigated at this time," Hunter told the reporters assembled outside the Boulder County Justice Center on Oct. 13, 1999.
Yet multiple sources, including members of the grand jury, have now confirmed to the Daily Camera what Hunter did not say that day: The grand jury voted to indict both John and Patsy Ramsey on charges of child abuse resulting in death in connection with the events of Christmas night 1996 -- but Hunter refused to sign the indictment, believing he could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
One legal expert, however, believes Colorado law may have obligated Hunter to at least sign the indictment, even if he elected not to prosecute the case.
"We didn't know who did what," one juror told the Camera, "but we felt the adults in the house may have done something that they certainly could have prevented, or they could have helped her, and they didn't."
Boulder attorney Bryan Morgan, who represented John Ramsey through the conclusion of the grand jury process, said Saturday, "If what you report actually happened, then there were some very professional and brave people in Alex's office and perhaps elsewhere whose discipline and training prevented a gross miscarriage of justice."
Former Boulder First Assistant District Attorney Bill Wise was among those confirming the jury's vote.
"It names both of them, John and Patsy Ramsey," said Wise, who was Hunter's top assistant for 28 years but did not participate in the grand jury process.
Child abuse resulting in death, when charged as "knowingly or recklessly," is a Class II felony that carries a potential sentence of four to 48 years in prison. The statute of limitations on that charge in Colorado is three years from the date of the crime.
(More at link)