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Why the DA never indicted Ramseys for JonBenet's death

We shared a violent crime post last week about the infamous JonBenet Ramsey homicide case. From the beginning, as is common in cases of crimes against children, the child victim's parents became the targets of criminal accusations. Even a grand jury wanted to try the parents in criminal court.

Despite the public and the grand jury's feelings, the then Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter strayed from the pack and made a bold decision. He didn't prosecute Jon and Patsy Ramsey. He didn't even sign the indictment. His decision is respected by some but challenged by others, even years later.

There are critics who believe that, based on how the system works, Hunter should have respected the grand jury's opinion that the Ramseys should have been indicted with child abuse resulting in death. He could have then suggested that the charges be dismissed in court.

Hunter reportedly didn't move forward with the criminal process against the Ramseys because he believed there wasn't sufficient evidence to even build a case against them. Based on reports, the jury essentially believed that the parents "certainly could have prevented" something in regards to JonBenet's death. That doesn't provide a strong basis for a criminal trial.

DNA evidence that was later tested proved that Jon and Patsy Ramsey were innocent of the violent crime against their daughter. Little else has happened to identify a different suspect, though one man did make a false confession in 2006. The Colorado case remains unresolved to this day.

Criminal prosecutors have a specific job at trial. They must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed the crime he is charged with. Hunter knew that and, therefore, didn't try a case that had the wrong suspects at the center of it.

Our Colorado criminal defense lawyers can help create the doubt that must remain in order for a defendant to avoid conviction.

Source: The Daily Camera, "JonBenet Ramsey grand jury voted to indict parents in 1999, but DA refused to prosecute," Charlie Brennan, Jan. 27, 2013

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