ad info

Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  





Bush signs order opening 'faith-based' charity office for business

Rescues continue 4 days after devastating India earthquake

DaimlerChrysler employees join rapidly swelling ranks of laid-off U.S. workers

Disney's is a goner


4:30pm ET, 4/16









CNN Websites
Networks image

Larry King Live

Does 'JonBenet: Inside The Ramsey Murder Investigation' Reveal the True Killer?

Aired April 14, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: This detective says he knows who killed JonBenet Ramsey. We'll hear from the former lead investigator in the Ramsey murder case, Steve Thomas; and then later, Lin Wood, John and Patsy Ramsey's civil responds to this theory.

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, Steve Thomas, the author of the new book, "JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation," written with Ron Davis, published by St. Martin's Press -- there you see its cover. Steve is no longer a police officer. He's now a carpenter, right?

Don't you miss being a cop?

STEVE THOMAS, AUTHOR, "JONBENET: INSIDE THE RAMSEY MURDER INVESTIGATION": I miss police work terribly, but I certainly don't miss police work in Boulder, Colorado.

KING: So you left on principle then?

THOMAS: I think so. I left because we were charged to do the right thing in this case, and we, as government, a government of which I was a part, failed miserably.

KING: Do you think you want to be a police officer again?

THOMAS: No, I think I'm done with it.

KING: We'll cover a lot of bases.

One of the things Alex Hunter said when he was on this program concerning you -- there were two things he was angry about with this book. One, that you wrote it, because it's still a pending investigation, and two, you weren't a homicide investigator. How do you respond to both of those?

THOMAS: Well, I will respond. One, I didn't work in a homicide unit. The department pulled me from vacation to come back in from a undercover narcotics assignment to work this case. I didn't ask to be assigned this case. I was put on this case, and they continued to give me more and more assignments in this case. So in hindsight now, I have to question that. And then... KING: Question why they appointed me?

THOMAS: No, not question why they appointed me, why Hunter is now making an issue out of it.

KING: Don't they have homicide detectives in Boulder?

THOMAS: There are very few homicides in Boulder, and what typically happens when there is one, the entire detective bureau, all different types of detectives, will work a case in the initial stages when it's red hot to try to get it solved.

KING: Why write a book about a case that's still open?

THOMAS: Well, that's interesting. This case, despite Hunter's assertions -- you know, on one hand, I hear him on your show saying that he doesn't want the Ramseys to take polygraphs because it might interfere with an intruder prosecution, and then on network television the previous week I hear him talking about being halfway there toward an arrest and prosecution, presumably of a Ramsey. This guy in my experience has just been all over the board in this case and continues to do so.

KING: They apparently now have accepted -- they were on this program, said they would accept the lie detector. Apparently, the Boulder police have now said, OK, take the lie detector. Have they put conditions on it?

THOMAS: Well, I find the whole thing remarkable, because on your show they asserted that they had never been asked to take a polygraph. And I would hearken them back to their own documentary the previous year, in which Mr. Ramsey said he was asked and that he would have been insulted to have done so. And then to come on your show and say they were never asked and then backed into a corner, I think -- and said that they'll now take them, and then they attach some conditions, which the Boulder Police Department accepted -- and now there's more conditions, and it's just more of the same story.

KING: You don't think they want to take it?

THOMAS: I don't think they want to take it. And quite frankly, Larry, three or four years after the crime, I think it's a moot point. It was appropriate when the case was red hot in those days and weeks afterwards.

KING: Even though it can't be used in court.

THOMAS: Right.

KING: So It's an investigative technique.

THOMAS: Right.

KING: Let's go back. When on the investigation -- we'll discuss some individual parts of it -- did you say I think -- in your book, you say this -- that she did it. THOMAS: Well, we've been accused, or the Boulder Police Department was accused, and I've recently been accused of making up my mind on the 26th, the first day. Well, I wasn't brought into the case until the third day, but as the weeks evolved into months and we followed -- and we did chase other suspects. We investigated close to a hundred suspects in this case, so that's an inaccurate representation.

KING: Were they always suspects in your mind?

THOMAS: Anybody in the house was a suspect in a crime such as this, but as the evidence -- as the detectives saw it and as others advising us saw it, did not lead us toward an intruder.

KING: Why her? Why do you think it was her?

THOMAS: Well, I think the most significant evidence in this case was the pen, the pad, the ransom note and the handwriting. And when we finished an investigation after 18 months and presented our case to the district attorney's office, presumably for them to move it forward, one statistic that was cited in that presentation was that out of 73 people whose handwriting was examined in this case, there was only one whose handwriting showed evidence to suggest authorship, who was in the home that night, who couldn't be eliminated as the author, and that was Patsy Ramsey.

KING: And that's what sent you over the line?

THOMAS: Yes, the handwriting was quite remarkable.

KING: Is handwriting accepted? Are graphologists introduced into evidence?

THOMAS: No, but there was also a forensic linguist that we used in this case, a very renowned and recognized expert, so much so that the FBI continues to use him, who did identify her as the author of the note.

KING: He thinks she wrote that note.

THOMAS: No question.

KING: Was the note suspicious to you from the beginning?

THOMAS: Well, initially -- in hindsight now, we can all say it was patently bogus, but initially, those officers and detectives on scene treated it as if it were, in fact, a legitimate kidnapping. In hindsight, we now know otherwise, that it was not, but...

KING: Why would a kidnapper kill the person on the scene?

THOMAS: And leave the collateral on the premises instead of removing it -- and let me make one note: Ransom kidnappers kidnap for ransom, and this what this note was purporting to be.

KING: Do detectives like to put through a theory of the crime as to how it happened, why -- do you like to construct a case?

THOMAS: Certainly. And we've been accused of constructing the case against the parents before looking at the evidence. But I hold the opposite opinion. I think it takes a fairly simple explanation that I believe is consist it with the evidence to explain her involvement.

KING: We'll take a break. And when we come back, we'll ask Steve Thomas to give us his theory as to what happened that day.

Our guest is Steve Thomas. His new book is "Jon Benet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation." Lin Wood -- he is John and Patsy Ramsey's civil attorney -- will be with us as well.

This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


JOHN RAMSEY, FATHER OF JONBENET RAMSEY: We think that the killer wrote the note before we came home that night. We think he was in the house while we were out four to five hours. The note was written before the crime.

KING: He intended, then, to kidnap you?

J. RAMSEY: We think it was a kidnapping...

KING: Gone awry?

J. RAMSEY: ... and something went terribly wrong. That's what seasoned investigators have told us.

KING: What do you make of "SBTC?"

J. RAMSEY: I don't know. I have struggled with that. I've tried to understand it. Only the killer knows.


KING: Must be.

P. RAMSEY: ... $118,000 -- this is why we wrote this book, because there are definite clues that are going to help us find this person.




P. RAMSEY: The first thing I remember is waking up, getting dressed hurriedly, going downstairs, and putting a few things together to pack to take on the plane.

KING: this is about what time?

P. RAMSEY: It's early morning, before daylight.

KING: You're up?


KING: Then what happens?

P. RAMSEY: Then I go down the spiral staircase, and there on one of the rungs of the stair is the three-page ransom note.

KING: No one has entered the house? The door isn't open? You read the note. What did you do?

P. RAMSEY: I don't know that. Well, I hurriedly read it, you know, and it didn't take long to understand what was happening, and I ran back upstairs and pushed open her bedroom door, and she was gone.


KING: What do you think happened, Steve? What do you think happened? Give me your scenario.

THOMAS: Well, it's hard to lay out. It took us two days, two long days to lay out what is a circumstantial case. Do we wish that there had been a smoking gun, a bloody fingerprint, a proof-positive conclusive piece of DNA evidence? Of course. But there wasn't. So what this has come down to is a circumstantial case in which both sides will argue either intruder or someone inside the house. And I think it takes a very simple explanation that I believe is consistent with the evidence in this case.

KING: Which is?

THOMAS: That Patsy Ramsey was involved that night -- I don't think it's that much of a stretch that that if she can be proved as the author of that note to make the stretch that she was involved in the death of her child.

KING: Now, if you think she authored the note, obviously, she had something to do with it. But what's your -- what did she do? Why did she try to kill her child? You're a detective.

THOMAS: Good point. And people always ask, what kind of motivation is this? And I say in law enforcement circles, this is -- under this hypothesis that I purport, that this was not an intentional killing, that this was accidental, initially, which, by definition, lacks motive, but then what happened, I think, a panicked mother instead of taking that next step, went left and covered this thing up. I don't think that -- this isn't rocket science here.

KING: So you think she was disciplining the child. It got out of hand. Is that your guess?

THOMAS: Well, who knows. The victim certainly knows and the offender certainly knows, but my guess is, yes, there was some sort of explosive encounter between mother and daughter that resulted in this child dead.

KING: What kind of parent would then garrote their own child?

THOMAS: That's the biggest leap, and I can't do justice what I try to lay out in this book but in this hypothesis in five seconds, but cops will tell you people have done more to save their own rear ends when their in a jam than you could ever imagine.

KING: Even their own child?

THOMAS: Well, I don't know. They will make some accusations toward me that I don't...

KING: Now let me tell you what they said. This week in "The Denver Post," the Ramseys, in response to your book, called it a disgrace. They called you an inexperienced moron. And John said about covering for his wife. "He said your love for your spouse is unconditional. You murder my child, I don't love you anymore."

THOMAS: I think the "inexperienced moron" comment I take with a grain of salt and consider the source, because now they have digressed to name calling.

KING: Well, your saying they -- you're saying one of them murdered their kid and the other is covering.

THOMAS: Certainly. And I think there's evidence to support that.

What I find terribly hypocritical on their part is that they can take advantage of every constitutional protection available to them, and then later use the First Amendment to write a book and name three people whom I believe to be clearly innocent in this case as suspects in the murder of their daughter. Yet, Larry, when I turn around, and just as a working stiff, try to use that same First Amendment, here comes team Ramsey, ready to roll.

KING: Why weren't they indicted in your opinion?

THOMAS: Probable cause was never an issue in this case. And as a police officer and a detective for 13 years, I had never been involved in a case in which we didn't arrest on probable cause. But this high-profile case, where there were sufficient facts and circumstances to articulate in an affidavit, an arrest warrant didn't happen, and then it got to a grand jury. which has that same threshold of probable cause, but I think Alex Hunter chose not to move forward with it because this -- in this day and age, this "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard is almost unattainable.

KING: In a case like this maybe unattainable, right?

THOMAS: Particularly with wealthy defendants.

KING: So why? Was their clout? THOMAS: Well, yes, look what happened in O.J. You have resources...

KING: O.J. went to trial. He was arrested.

THOMAS: He absolutely was. And they took a shot, and they stepped up to the plate and they tried to do the right thing. Alex Hunter did not.

KING: All right. Do you think the grand jury -- we'll never know I guess. Do you think the grand jury might have voted to indict?

THOMAS: I've heard this week that there was a grand juror in that case -- and I didn't hear this through the grand juror, certainly, but through an intermediary that there's a grand juror that wants to talk, and...

KING: That they wanted to indict and Hunter didn't want then to indict?

THOMAS: I don't know that, and we'll never know because of grand jury secrecy what happened in those four walls, but that's certainly a possibility, that they returned it a true bill.

KING: Don't detectives want to arrest and don't prosecutors hedge because prosecutors want to know they can get convictions? Isn't this a classic clash?

THOMAS: No question. But what was atypical in Boulder was this culture that had been in existence for many, many years prior to the Ramsey case, in which underaged drinkers and bicycle thieves, there was a system in place to deal with them, but this government failed horribly when the big one landed in the collective laps of Boulder.

KING: Did the Boulder Police screw up?

THOMAS: Unquestionably, and I don't pull any punches in the book. I don't try to defend the Boulder Police Department. I show it for what it was, warts and all, not just on the first day, but mistakes were made throughout the continuation of the investigation.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Steve Thomas.

This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: There's a book coming from Steve Thomas, a former detective, who says that you did do it, I think he's saying that in his book. Are you concerned about this book? Have you heard about it?

J. RAMSEY: Well, Steve Thomas, I believe, had that opinion from the very beginning, which is one of the problems in this whole case. Steve was an inexperienced, rookie detective. I think he was a narcotics police officer who was given this case as the lead detective.

No, I'm not concerned.

KING: Not concerned?

P. RAMSEY: Steve Thomas interviewed me, our first interview, and I appreciated his passion for wanting to find the killer of my daughter, and I told him so.



KING: There's another detective, Lou Smit -- he says there was an intruder with a stun gun. He totally believes him. You must know Lou.

THOMAS: I like Lou. I think the world of Lou. I don't have a bad thing to say about Lou. We, I think, are still friends, but we are diametrically opposed on this case. But let me say something, because I've heard Lou Smit, Lou Smit, Lou Smit, Lou's the lone voice on this thing. This isn't just me espousing this theory.

KING: You're saying most of the Boulder Police agree with you?

THOMAS: There's no question. There's federal law enforcement. Even in the district attorney's office there is agreement.

Larry, who do you think they targeted this grand jury? It wasn't an intruder.

KING: So other prosecutors agree with you, too?

THOMAS: Of course.

KING: Why do you think Alex didn't indict?

THOMAS: Because once again, I just think his history is very telling that an arrest followed by a trial is not his strong suit.

KING: You did -- she said you interviewed her. How did you find that -- how did that good when you interviewed Patsy?

THOMAS: It was frustrating in that despite what they are trying now to say that they cooperated throughout this investigation. We had to wait, let's remember, four months before these people finally came in and answered some of the most basic and elementary questions to police detectives.

KING: Forgive -- maybe this is idiotic, but doesn't a cop have a right to go ask a suspect a question? The suspect can say I'll get back to you?

THOMAS: Certainly, in this country, God bless the Constitution, the police can't compel somebody to talk.

KING: No, but you have the right to go ask them. They can say...

THOMAS: They were surrounded by a team of attorneys early in this case.

KING: Didn't that puzzle you?

THOMAS: Of course it did. And we were -- beyond that, why did they have separate attorneys? One question that was raised was, does this suggest an inherent conflict of interest between these two people?

KING: Have you talked to other cops and other jurisdictions about this case?

THOMAS: Since I have left the case?

KING: Yes, that's what I mean.

THOMAS: Certainly.

KING: Do they kind of offer the same opinion -- in other words, what do you hear around the country from police officers?

THOMAS: They're befuddled, and they're amazed, and rightfully so, about what went on in the criminal justice system in Boulder, Colorado. They just cannot believe that this debacle continued unabated for as long as it did. In New York, for example, I mean, there would have been a grand jury, there would have been subpoenas, and the government would have applied its pressure to solve this case.

KING: How about some other evidence -- the DNA under JonBenet's fingernails are not the Ramseys'.

THOMAS: Well, that's the oversimplification we've heard over and over and over again in the media, but the DNA is a very complex issue in this case. And if it were a DNA case, it would just be a matter of matching it to whoever it might belong to, case solved. It's not a DNA case. Even the experts within the case disagreed, but they did come to one consensus, this isn't a DNA case.

KING: Meaning? It could have been under the nails four months ago?

THOMAS: There were issues concerning degradation, contamination, evidence control.

KING: Body was moved, right?

THOMAS: Yes, there were so many issues concerning...

KING: What about the suitcase under the bedroom window?

THOMAS: Well, I think that's easily explained -- under the basement window.

KING: Basement window. THOMAS: One, a witness in the house that day moved the suitcase, but I don't think these crime scene photos that some are relying upon are necessarily indicative of what a true pristine crime scene was that day.

KING: Meaning?

THOMAS: Meaning, the suitcase was moved at one point during the day before that photograph was taken.

KING: And then I get -- we'll go back to it, but the parent garroting a child -- that just seems -- unlikely, improbable.

THOMAS: Somebody did this. And let me put it this way, to believe an intruder committed this crime, I feel that you have to believe this remarkable series of events, this chronology that involved, you know, the stealth entry, getting Patsy's pad and a pen and having, coincidentally, handwriting characteristics so remarkably similar to her, who was allegedly sleeping upstairs, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, not knowing the dog was home -- or knowing the dog wasn't home. The alarm was off.

KING: Where's the child when you're writing the note, if you're intending to take the child?

THOMAS: Exactly. I mean, a ransom kidnapper would have brought a ransom note, presumably, one would think so.

KING: What about the footprint found in the basement?

THOMAS: The Hi-Tech footprint I theorize was made by a sightseeing law enforcement officer. Hi-Tech is probably the most popular brand of cop footwear there is, and I think somebody stepped somewhere they shouldn't, and we were never able to run that down.

KING: Our guest is Steve Thomas, his book just out, "JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation," written with Don Davis. Steve lives in the suburb of Denver and is no longer a police officer, by his own design.

We'll be right back. We'll take some phone calls as well.

And then in the final 20 minutes of the program, Lin Wood, who's been on this show before -- he's the civil attorney for the Ramseys -- will be with us.

Don't go away.


KING: Is your handwriting cleared, both of you?

P. RAMSEY: John's definitively was cleared, and I scored a 4.5 out of a 5. Five is definitely no match, and it just -- you know.

KING: The tabloids were printing that it was you. P. RAMSEY: Oh yes, they love that.

J. RAMSEY: That's absurd.

We've looked at leads whose handwriting scored much, much higher than Patsy's on a comparison scale.



KING: Before we take a call, was a lawsuit threatened against you?

THOMAS: I have heard that they're suggesting legal action, but my response, again, to that is I think it's hypocritical. They write a book, they name suspects, but when I turn around to do it, they want to come down on me.

And let me say this, Larry: I bet there is a good trial attorney out there who would like to depose Patsy Ramsey for a week or two and let's get this in a civil court.

KING: You know, if they do sue you, you'd have to depose them.

THOMAS: I'd have the right to depose them, and open them to discovery and let a civil jury, with a "preponderance of the evidence" threshold, determine whether this evidence that I'm suggesting bears out.

KING: Let's take a call for Steve Thomas.

Orem, Utah, hello.

CALLER: Yes, hello.

Steve, if Patsy did it, they say JonBenet was molested. Who do you think molested her?

THOMAS: There was the suggestion that she was molested and some pediatric experts that we consulted in this case were unanimous in their consensus that prior to night she died, that she had suffered some previous vaginal abuse. Certainly, the defense would contest that vehemently. I am not a medical doctor, and I defer to the expert's of these guys who did it.

KING: Alex Hunter said, in view of the book, you couldn't testify in trial, if they were ever tried.

THOMAS: I think Alex Hunter would be hard pressed to ever testify in this case given some of his unethical and just unbelievable behavior.

KING: But he wouldn't be required to testify.

THOMAS: He wouldn't be required to testify, but... KING: But a detective would.

THOMAS: A detective would.

But that's the thing: Just today, another network has reported, finally, that one of Hunter's top advisers has now come out and told -- called this a cold case. This case is going nowhere.

KING: "Cold" meaning forget it, right?


KING: OK. I am having trouble bringing a call down. It ain't coming down.

The cooperation with the police -- they did not cooperate at all?

THOMAS: Absolutely not. That is absurd for them to now try to suggest that they cooperated. It's almost like how they were backed into this polygraph issue recently. As far as cooperation goes, a man whom I've never met, Polly Klaas' father, Marc Klaas, is the epitome of cooperation. He said polygraph me, here I am, get past me, in the early day of this investigation. That's what I expected from the Ramseys.

KING: That's what I asked them. Most fathers, a father losing a child would have said, I didn't do it, I don't care about lawyers or anything, I am banging on the police door to find the killer.

THOMAS: One would think so.

KING: We'll take a break and come back, and we'll hope to get some more calls in. I was having trouble reaching the next caller.

Don't go away.


KING: Steve Thomas -- he's going to be here in a couple of weeks. He's not a homicide detective. He's written a book very critical of the Ramseys. Should we discount it?

ALEX HUNTER: Well, you know, I think people have the right to write a book. I am disappointed that he's writing it, because he's using his police case file. I was disappointed that Lou Smit did some interviews, and talked...

KING: Did he, I have never...

HUNTER: Well, he did something with "Newsweek." In a perfect world, we wouldn't see that. These cases should be tried in the court.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back with Steve Thomas. The book is "JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation," with Don Davis; the publisher is St. martin's press.

The caller is from Honolulu -- Hello.

CALLER: Hi. My question is, he said -- Steve Thomas believes that Patsy Ramsey wrote the note, and I understand that there's a scale saying 1, absolutely she wrote it, 5 says they didn't write it. What did she score on that?

THOMAS: Well, they're saying that she scored a numerical scale of 4 1/2, but that apparently is from their own defense handwriting experts. And I find it remarkable that their own paid experts won't exclude her as the author of the note.

KING: Is it, in your opinion, if she wrote the note, she's the killer?

THOMAS: I don't...

KING: I mean, the writer of the note is the killer?

THOMAS: Absent some conspiracy, I don't think that's a tremendous leap to make.

KING: What about -- was the young boy ever a suspect?

THOMAS: No, not in my mind. I don't think in the minds of many, just absolutely not.

KING: Isn't it very frustrating if someone -- forgetting whether it's right or wrong, as a police officer, if you believe something and you can't do anything with it?

THOMAS: Well, of course it is. I mean, detectives are professionally insulted when people commit atrocious crimes that they're charged to solve. And then this was impossible from the get- go. When we had parents who wouldn't cooperate with us yet were solving for us to solve this case it was a catch-22 beyond belief.

KING: Why did you quit?

THOMAS: My tolerance, I was finally just exhausted and frustrated with how miserably the criminal justice system in Boulder, Colorado, operated. And while the d.a. and the police chief got up at the podium and told the world that everything was under control, behind the scenes this ball of yarn was unrolling faster than anybody could contain it.

KING: What's it like, Steve, when you sit and watch them on this program for two nights? I mean, what goes through you?

THOMAS: Well, as well as I know the case, I pick apart their story. I mean, I heard one thing one time, and then, you know, I hear this about the polygraphs. And now there's conditions. And, you know, I think it's the same old rhetoric.

KING: Glade Water, Texas, for Steve Thomas -- hello.

CALLER: Yes, Mr. Thomas, I would like to know if you consider it suspicious that JonBenet was supposedly murdered in the early hour mornings of December 26th, yet the Ramseys inscribed December 25th on her tombstone. And I've never heard a good explanation of this.

THOMAS: Well, of course, it was one of a thousand things that we looked at in this case, certainly her tombstone indicating that she died before midnight on December 25th, because remember we never were definitively able to declare an exact time of death in this case.

KING: How about her appearance, wearing the same clothes as the night before? What did that indicate?

THOMAS: Well, that indicated to us possibly...

KING: Because she said here she got dressed.

THOMAS: Yes, with a closet full of designer clothes. One suggestion was that she'd never been to bed that night, and we had a photograph from the night before and then her admission the following morning.

KING: Full makeup when the police arrived -- was that indicative of anything?

THOMAS: Again, when was the makeup applied and the hair done and the clothes put on?

KING: Patsy's sister removing items?

THOMAS: That was unbelievable that three days into an active, working homicide crime scene in what was to be a simple trip to retrieve some funeral clothing became what I call a scorches earth. What was taken out of that house over the course of several hours, we'll never know. And I found it remarkable that two of the items that were taken happened to be the Ramsey passports, and detectives asked were they planning on going somewhere.

KING: How about their contention the FBI in a kidnapping matter was not brought in?

THOMAS: That's absolutely false. The FBI was there that day of the 26th and continued to be involved in this case throughout.

KING: Do you have a theory as to what went wrong? Your theory is that she did it, your theory is she wrote the note after the fact. Do you have a theory as to...

THOMAS: Well, as much as I've heard Patsy Ramsey minimize this bed-wetting and toileting issue, other witnesses have told us that it was remarkably more frequent and more of a problem than I think the family let on about.

KING: You mean Patsy enlarged it as a problem? She told people it was a big problem?

THOMAS: No, no, just the opposite, that I think Patsy Ramsey minimized what I felt was more of a problem than was let on.

KING: Yes, but why -- why do you think she killed her daughter?

THOMAS: Well, again, I don't think...

KING: You don't have to know.

THOMAS: I don't think it was an intentional act. I think it lacked motive by definition that this was accidental. And again, I think there's evidence to support that.

KING: Do you believe you could have proved this case in court?

THOMAS: Well, that's the million-dollar question. It -- had Boulder done this right from the start, this may have been a case -- I'm speaking in hypotheticals. But at this point, no, this case is not prosecutable, and that's what Hunter now hangs his hat on.

KING: Is this case dead?

THOMAS: Absolutely.

KING: Dead?

THOMAS: I mean, absent a confession, those inside this case know that it is absolutely going nowhere in a criminal court, in a criminal prosecution.

KING: There might be a civil prosecution? Someone who would file a civil suit?

THOMAS: Well, if they're suggesting they're going to sue me, I -- I certainly would say...

KING: Well, yes, if you won that suit it would be sort of like O.J. losing his civil suit in a sense, right? It would have to be that you were right in the book if they do sue you. So you're welcoming a lawsuit?

THOMAS: Well, I'm not welcoming it, but if they want to -- look, I'm a working-stiff guy. I got a modest little house and an old pickup truck. If they want to try to take that from me, I say bring it on, you know? Let's put the evidence in front of a civil jury and let 12 jurors decide this.

KING: Miss being a cop?

THOMAS: Yes, I miss the hell out of police work.

KING: Why not go back? I mean, go to another jurisdiction?

THOMAS: Well...

KING: You're 30 years old.

THOMAS: Who knows what...

KING: You want a life of being a carpenter?

THOMAS: Carpenter, like police work used to be for me, is a good, honest living.

KING: Used to be. You're down on...

THOMAS: No, I love cops. Cops are the absolute greatest people in the world. Nobody finer than a cop. But I am terribly down about the injustice that happened in Boulder.

KING: Thanks, Steve.

THOMAS: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Steve Thomas, the book is "JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation," written with Don Davis and published by St. Matin's.

When we come back, Lin Wood, the civil attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey will join us from CNN center in Atlanta.

Don't go away.


KING: Well, what -- living with this, Patsy, you know the truth -- well, you don't know who did it.

P. RAMSEY: I don't know who.

KING: But you know you didn't.

P. RAMSEY: I did not.

KING: And you know you didn't.

J. RAMSEY: That's the one thing we know with absolute certainty as a fact in this case is that we did not kill our daughter.

P. RAMSEY: And there was someone in our home that night who did kill our daughter. And we're going to find that person.



KING: Now a return visit with Lin Wood, the civil attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey. He's at our CNN headquarters in Atlanta.

Are you going to sue? Are the Ramseys going to sue Steve Thomas, Lin? LIN WOOD, RAMSEYS' CIVIL ATTORNEY: I have been studying his book and I've been watching all of his appearances in his public relations publicity tour to make money off of this book. I sat here tonight, Larry, and I am absolutely amazed.

KING: Are you going to sue?

WOOD: After tonight, you bet. You can...

KING: You're going to sue.

WOOD: You can count on team Ramsey, if that's what I am, in terms of civil litigation. Steve Thomas will have his day in court, and Steve Thomas...

KING: Why after tonight? What happened tonight?

WOOD: Well, this man was afraid and perhaps embarrassed to tell you his theory. He's written a book called "Inside the Investigation." Here's what he's been saying this week "Inside the Investigation" tells the public.

Number one, he's said very clearly John Ramsey is innocent. John Ramsey was not involved in the killing of his daughter. But he didn't want to tell you what his theory was about Patsy Ramsey, because I think people have read it or heard it and they've ridiculed it, and he's embarrassed to say it. But here it is, Larry -- and you've heard it.

He says that Patsy Ramsey in some way woke up that night, went into her daughter's bedroom, found that she had wet the bed, engaged in a physical struggle with her in the bathroom, knocked her up against the bathtub edge, striking her head, killing her, and then took her downstairs into the basement, fashioned a garrote, a killing device, to put around her neck, strangle her and then sexually assault her -- because the evidence is clear that the child was sexually assaulted that night.

Look at "Inside the Investigation." There was no evidence, zero, that there was a bed wet that night in her room. Her sheets were dry. They were not damp. They were not soiled. They were not stained. There's a picture of those sheets, and they clearly were as expected to be with the child having laid in that bed that night. There was no evidence of a struggle in the bathroom, no physical evidence of that whatsoever.

And here's a very significant point, Larry. This child's skull was crushed. She suffered a 8 1/2 inch displaced fracture of the right side of her skull. Now, Patsy Ramsey didn't accidentally push a child into the bathtub edge. If his theory holds water, which it doesn't, Patsy Ramsey would have had to pick up her 45-pound daughter and swing her like a sledgehammer to crush her skull like this. This was a blow that would fall a 300-pound man.

And then look at how she died. The autopsy is clear. She died from strangulation. A garrote was placed around her neck and tightened until she died. And the autopsy showed there were only two tablespoons of blood in her skull cavity. This massive crushing blow should have produced a tremendous amount of blood while Patsy was planning this cover-up stage. But there was no blood as a practical matter because the garrote was already tightened around her neck, stopping the flow of blood from her heart to her brain when she was struck on the head.

KING: All right, now let...

WOOD: Steve Thomas's theory is fiction.

KING: All right, now obviously he totally believes it. Your theory also is why would some -- we could question your theory being why would someone write a long ransom note and then kill a child if you wanted the money for ransom? What sense does that make?

WOOD: Well, let me tell you, I'm not a killer and I'm not a psychiatrist, but I can give you, I think, a very plausible explanation. I could easily say that someone went into that house and waited, wrote this note under the idea that they would make it look like a kidnapping, get this child, assault her and kill her, and then figure maybe the police -- they would buy a lot of time to get out, to get away. There are a lot of explanations, including the fact that it was a kidnapping that went wrong.

But I want to clarify this fiction about the handwriting, too. This expert that Thomas now tells us was the expert linguist who was used by the FBI -- I have a letter, Larry, that this fellow, Don Foster, wrote to Patsy Ramsey in June of 1997. And he said to her, "I know that you are innocent -- know it, absolutely and unequivocally. I would state my professional reputation on it, indeed my faith in humanity."

Mr. Foster, the expert linguist, was so discredited by this letter when it was exposed that he was not even allowed to testify before the grand jury. That's Mr. Thomas's expert handwriting analysis. Now...

KING: He scores points, Lin, when he says your client did not cooperate, did not go to the police, to the hired individual lawyers, pushed things around, pushed it off, had clout. Why didn't -- as innocent people, they run down, give lie detector tests in a second and go crazy because they know there's a killer loose?

WOOD: Well, let me clear up a couple of those false states by Mr. Thomas directly.

Number one, let's look at the question of Patsy Ramsey's willingness to cooperate. You know, in this tabloid that he calls a book, Steve Thomas discusses at length the statements given by John and Patsy Ramsey in April of 1997 that he took, his interrogation. Even though I have the statements -- and he swore a confidence, his word, that he would not release them to the media, his word was not good when it came time to make a profit.

But let me read just one statement in that that he doesn't include in his interviews or his book. Patsy Ramsey said in April of 1997 to Steve Thomas:

"I mean, really and truly, I want to -- I mean, you say you thought about it 100 hours a day, I've thought about it every waking moment, sleeping moment, you know? And I want to work with you, John and I both. Please, I can't tell you how much we want to work with you. So anything else, ask me"

And then he did not ask her to take a polygraph test. He hasn't told the truth about that in his interviews. He said to Patsy Ramsey, "And I know -- well, let me ask you this way," Mr. Thomas said, "I'm not asking you to take one. But hypothetically, if you took a polygraph, how would you do?" And here is Patsy Ramsey's answer to Steve Thomas:

"I'm telling you the truth. I mean, I don't know how those things work, but if they tell the truth, I'm telling the truth. I never have given anybody a reason to think otherwise. I want to find out who did this -- period." Thomas said, "Does that mean you'd pass it?" She said, "Yes, I would pass it. I'll take 10 of them. I don't care. Do whatever you want." That's the truth of what Patsy Ramsey said in...

KING: All right...

WOOD: ... April of 1997. And you know what, Larry? Steve Thomas never asked her to take a polygraph. The person he claims now to be his prime suspect, he never followed up and asked her to take one...

KING: By the way...

WOOD: ... and now he accuses her of not taking one.

KING: I've got to get a break, Lin, but are they going to take one?

WOOD: They have offered to do so. The only issue right now is whether or not the FBI, who has been offered up as the examiner by Chief Beckner, is truly independent. The Ramseys believe that we need to get someone who has not been involved in the investigation. As Steve Thomas said tonight...

KING: Well, there's many good -- you could find one tomorrow. There's many top...

WOOD: Absolutely.

KING: What's delaying this? Why don't you pick one out? In Chicago there's one, in Miami there's one. Pick one out.

WOOD: If Chief Beckner will let me do so, I'll be glad to compare this...

KING: You can do it without Chief Beckner, you can go do it yourself. WOOD: We can do it ourselves, but let me say this. We want to move this investigation away from John and Patsy. And in order to do that, it's going to be most helpful if we have a polygraph when they pass that the police will look at and say, OK, let's start looking elsewhere.

KING: All right, let me get a break. We'll be right back with Lin Wood, the civil attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey right after this.


KING: You set -- you put guidelines up to the interviewers. You'd only be interviewed together. Why?

J. RAMSEY: I don't remember...

KING: Is that...

P. RAMSEY: I don't remember any guidelines.

J. RAMSEY: I don't remember.

KING: You didn't give them any guidelines?

J. RAMSEY: The only guideline I remember, the only request that we made -- and this was after a huge gap of mistrust developed -- the police withheld JonBenet's body for burial to try to force us to submit to their terms.

KING: Which were?

J. RAMSEY: That we -- the three of us be interrogated in the police station before we buried our daughter. And we were horribly offended at that. And this huge gap of mistrust developed.


KING: Lin, would you agree with Steve Thomas that this case is stone cold dead?

WOOD: Yes, I do agree with that statement. I believe that's the statement of Dr. Henry Lee. It's interesting that you hear District Attorney Hunter talk about we're on the right track and we're moving along, and you hear the governor come out and say we've got the right people in place. They're doing the job. The truth is they're botching this file up, and it's going on the shelf. And there's a killer out there and no one's looking for him that has a badge and a gun.

KING: So any way you look at it, Steve Thomas or Lin Wood, this has a tragic ending? There's a death without a solution?

WOOD: Well, it is at the moment going to be a death without a solution if we cannot get the authorities in Boulder or some other professional agency involved to start looking in the direction of an intruder.

And let me just point out if I might, Larry, Steve Thomas makes a nice impression. He's a nice-looking young man. But he tries to downplay the fact that he's also a totally inexperienced homicide detective. Before this case...

KING: But they called him in. He didn't ask for the case.

WOOD: Well, that doesn't make him experienced. That just shows that they had to go into the narcotics undercover people to get somebody to look into a homicide.

But, you know, look at what Lou Smit, who was hired by the Boulder district attorney's office, has done. Thirty-two years as a homicide investigator in that part of the country, a legend, over 200 homicides Lou Smit has investigated with an 85 percent or higher solution rate. Lou Smit's done an interview for "Newsweek," sure, but Lou Smit's at home tonight in Colorado Springs. He's not on television trying to make money on a book. He hasn't written a book. Lou Smit's at home tonight working as hard as he can to still find the killer of JonBenet.

Contrast that to what Steve Thomas is doing.

KING: But your clients also wrote a book, Lin.

WOOD: You bet they did. And I will tell you, they had no choice. My clients, unlike Steve Thomas, my clients have had a three- year time period in which they have been subjected to the most vicious attacks. Just look at some of the things that have been said about this family. John and Patsy Ramsey have been accused in headlines of being everything from child molesters to drug addicts to murderers to pornographers. They had finally after the grand jury, I think, an obligation almost to come out and tell their side of the story, to tell the truth of what this family has been through. And they're not spending their money -- and I -- with all due respect to Mr. Thomas, I'm sure he's got more than a small house and a pick-up truck as an advance for this book -- but they're putting their money back into paying for the criminal investigation, the attorneys' fees and then the JonBenet Ramsey foundation. I'd like to ask Mr. Thomas what he intends to do with his money.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments with Lin Wood on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Four top authors will be with us tomorrow night, including the famed Frederick Forsyth, author of "Day of the Jackal."

We'll be right back.


P. RAMSEY: I'm worried for the entire country. There is a killer walking around out there someplace. Lou Smit tells us that we can...

KING: That's a detective, right?

P. RAMSEY: Detective Lou Smits.

J. RAMSEY: Lou Smit is the only homicide investigator that's ever looked at this case.

P. RAMSEY: And he says definitively that there's enough evidence to find this man. But the public needs to know it. It's been -- it's been...

KING: So why would the police not want to solve it?

P. RAMSEY: Why wouldn't they?

J. RAMSEY: I think the police are passionate.

KING: That it's you?

J. RAMSEY: They're passionate that is was one of us.

P. RAMSEY: That's right.



KING: Let's get a call in for Lin Wood. Little Rock, Arkansas -- hello.



CALLER: Hi, Mr. Wood.

WOOD: How are you?

CALLER: Mr. King.


CALLER: I just want to say I think it's wonderful that they've agreed to take a polygraph test. And my question is, would they also submit to a blood test to make sure they were not taking anything, i.e., medication, herbs, that would alter their response to the questions on the polygraph? How would you answer that, sir?

WOOD: Oh, absolutely. I'm sure that the question would be asked if they're on any medications, and they would answer that question truthfully and submit to any urinalysis that was required or asked of them.

John and Patsy Ramsey have in many, many days of interrogation by police officers in Boulder and in a number of interviews with respect to their book, they have answered every question. They have done everything that has been asked of them in terms of coming out and doing whatever they could do at least once to try to help solve this crime. So, yes...

KING: Are you...

WOOD: ... they'll do what it takes.

KING: Lin, are you worried when Steve said that he heard that one of the grand jury members may come forward and say they wanted to indict?

WOOD: I think what I heard him say was that he had heard that one grand juror may want to come out and talk...

KING: Right.

WOOD: And then -- see, here's Steve Thomas for you -- he takes that hearsay, rumor, gossip, and then makes the outrageous statement that from that the grand jury may well have indicted. Listen, if the grand jury indicted John and Patsy Ramsey, there would be -- we'd be probably in the middle of a trial right now. You're not going to put a grand jury out there for 13 months and spend millions of dollars of taxpayers' hard-earned money, have them bring an indictment, and then say no thanks. The grand jury didn't indict in this case for the very simple reason that inside the investigation the evidence did not support an indictment. And it just doesn't take very much to get an indictment. It wasn't there.

KING: Lin, thanks very much. As always, good seeing you.

WOOD: Thank you, Larry. Nice to speak with you again tonight.

KING: And Lin Wood announcing tonight that the Ramseys are going to sue Steve Thomas, the author of "JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation.

Steve with us earlier, the Ramseys intend to file a lawsuit. Tomorrow night, "LARRY KING WEEKEND" with four top authors. We'll be back Monday night.

And next Thursday, Vice President Al Gore.

Stay tuned for CNN "NEWSSTAND" from New York.

Good night.



Back to the top  © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.