Ramseys, Cops To Meet After 2 Years

Monday, August 28th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) — Patsy Ramsey is scheduled to go first. Then her husband, John, is to follow. For the first time in over two years, the parents of slain 6-year-old JonBenet will face detectives.

The Ramseys are scheduled to begin answering questions Monday in separate sessions with a seven-member investigative team led by Boulder, Colo., police Chief Mark Beckner, their attorney, L. Lin Wood said.

Wood — who called the meeting ``an interrogation, not an interview'' — advised the Ramseys not to meet with police because of ``the potential for innocent people to be caught up in a web of an overzealous prosecutor and unobjective or less than objective police officials.''

``I think it would be safe to say there's probably no lawyer who would recommend they participate in this kind of interrogation,'' Wood said.

Authorities say the Ramseys, who last met with police in June 1998, are still under ``an umbrella of suspicion'' in their daughter's 1996 slaying.

There is no time limit on the interviews Monday, which will be videotaped and transcribed by a court reporter at Wood's office. Wood said the interviews could take about two days.

``John and Patsy agreed to each and every condition imposed by the police department, and we imposed no conditions ourselves,'' Wood said.

However, the Ramseys will end the interviews immediately if they are ``attacked, abused or treated unfairly,'' Wood said. Otherwise, they will help with any ``legitimate investigative effort,'' he said.

Neither side anticipates that the interviews will result in a quick arrest or an immediate statement from police clearing the couple. It will be the first time the Ramseys have met with Beckner, the police chief.

Wood said the Ramseys agreed to the interview in hopes of getting police to move past a theory that they could have played a role in their daughter's death. ``John and Patsy realize they need the Boulder Police Department to find the killer of their daughter,'' Wood said.

JonBenet was found strangled and beaten in the basement of her family's Boulder home Dec. 26, 1996. No suspect has ever been named, and the Ramseys deny any involvement.

A grand jury convened in 1998 to investigate JonBenet's death, but didn't return an indictment.

Wood will attend the interview along with an investigator the Ramseys hired to work on the case. The couple and their son, Burke, moved from Boulder to Atlanta after JonBenet's death.

Beckner declined to comment on the Ramsey interview.

While the interview may not conclusively establish the Ramseys' innocence, the couple may help their image by signaling to the public that the investigation remains open, said University of Georgia criminal law professor Ron Carlson.

``The willingness of John and Patsy to sit for interrogation, which they are not required to do, does impress many people as conduct which is inconsistent with guilt,'' he said.


On the Net:

Ramseys' site: http://www.Ramseyfamily.com

Boulder police: http://www.ci.boulder.co.us/police