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Interview With Lin Wood

Aired July 11, 2003 - 21:00   ET


PATSY RAMSEY, JONBENET'S MOTHER: Please, we just got up and she's lying here. Oh my God, please.


LARRY KING, HOST: The frantic voice of JonBenet Ramsey's mother.


P. RAMSEY: Oh my God.


KING: Just part of the 911 call we'll hear in its entirety tonight, the call that launched one of the most sensational murder cases of our time, a case that has taken a dramatic turn. A judge rules the weight of evidence points to an intruder, not at JonBenet's parents, as the killer of the 6-year-old beauty queen. And a new DA takes the case away from the police and launches a new investigation.

Tonight, Lin Wood, attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey, and the 911 call that started it all over again, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. A very important edition of LARRY KING LIVE tonight. Our special guest for the hour is Lin Wood, the attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey.

You all know the case, early morning December 26, 1996, Patsy Ramsey calls 911 about her 6-year-old daughter, JonBenet, being missing. The rest has become history. This is now six and a half years. No one has been charged, no trial, of course. And an unsolved mystery.

Lin Wood is here tonight for a lot of reasons, the main one of which is to provide us with the 911 call that Patsy Ramsey made the early morning of the 26th. What took so long to get this?

LIN WOOD, ATTORNEY FOR JOHN AND PATSY P. RAMSEY: The Boulder Police Department fought me tooth and nail to try to prevent me from obtaining this tape and being able to allow the public to hear it.

I worked through civil litigation with the use of subpoena, filing an agreement, a motion filed. And ultimately, the 1st of this year the Boulder district attorney, Mary Keenan, interceded and directed that the tape be released to me.

KING: She is new, is she not?

WOOD: She's been the district attorney for the last two years.

KING: So this would be her first step in this case?

WOOD: It was -- actually, she got -- she has been looking at the case, apparently, for the entire two years. And in December of last year, she made the decision, in response to a letter that I had written and demands made, that some action be taken to take the case away from the Boulder Police Department. She did so. She took the case away from the Boulder Police Department, brought the murder investigation into her department, where she's in charge.

KING: Why did they not want to release the 911 tape?

WOOD: Well, I think that the answer is self-evident when you listen to the tape. First and foremost, the voice of Patsy Ramsey. It is a voice of anguish, a voice of panic, a voice of a mother who has awoken just a few minutes earlier to find her 6-year-old child missing. It's a genuine voice.

And the Boulder Police Department, Larry, did not want the public to hear that voice, because it is a voice of innocence.

KING: Let's go back to the night in question, and then we're going to hear the tape. The parents last see her when?

WOOD: They saw her when they put her to bed on the night of December 25.

KING: And they opened gifts together that night?

WOOD: They'd actually gone over to a neighbor's home for a party and had returned home, and JonBenet had fallen asleep in the back seat of the car on the way home.

KING: And they put her into bed?

WOOD: Yes, they did.

KING: And they went to sleep?

WOOD: Yes.

KING: And Mrs. Ramsey got up first?

WOOD: Actually, I believe John got up first and started preparing for the trip they were going to take that day to Michigan to share time with their family members before they left on a cruise with the kids.

Patsy got up thereafter and redressed, put on her makeup and then went downstairs and found the three-page ransom note at the bottom of the spiral stairway. KING: The young son, the boy, was sleeping?

WOOD: Burke was asleep at that time. He did wake up, we later learned, when he heard his mother screaming. But he feigned sleep and so John and Patsy, until they heard about his testimony before the grand jury, they always thought that he was asleep.

KING: All right. Let's hear it. The 911 call Patsy Ramsey makes, the early morning, the day after Christmas, 1996. Listen.


P. RAMSEY: Police -- 755 15th Street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's going on there, ma'am?

P. RAMSEY: We had a kidnapping. Hurry, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Explain to me what's going on. OK?

P. RAMSEY: We have a -- there's a note left and our daughter's gone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A note was left and your daughter's gone?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old is your daughter?

P. RAMSEY: Six years old. She's gone. Six years old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long ago was it?

P. RAMSEY: I don't know. I just found the note. And my daughter's taken.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it say who took her?

P. RAMSEY: What?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it say who took her?

P. RAMSEY: I have a note. There's a ransom note here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a ransom note?

P. RAMSEY: It says "SBTC." "Victory." Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. What's your name?

P. RAMSEY: Patsy Ramsey. I'm the mother. Oh, my God! Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I'm sending an officer over. OK?

P. RAMSEY: Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know how long she's been gone?

P. RAMSEY: No, I don't. Please. We just got up and she's not here. Oh, my God. Please.


P. RAMSEY: Talk to somebody.


P. RAMSEY: Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take a deep breath for me, OK?

P. RAMSEY: Please, hurry, hurry, hurry.



KING: Very dramatic.

WOOD: It is. And genuine.

KING: Does she remember that call well, Patsy?

WOOD: I don't think so. I think that she was in such a state of mind that morning, her mind racing, her daughter missing, that she really does not have a great recollection of what she said.

You know, one of the things that I think led to the Boulder police fighting so far to keep this tape from being made public, in addition to the voice of Patsy Ramsey, was the fact that after Patsy hung up the phone, the Boulder police claimed that she had somehow not hung up the receiver on the wall phone and that there was a conversation that was picked up through an enhanced version of this tape that involved John and Burke, the 9-year-old son, and Patsy.

And that when they were interrogated by the police, John and Patsy said they didn't speak to Burke after the 911 call. So that was allegedly the smoking gun, that Patsy Ramsey lied.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) who appeared on this show (UNINTELLIGIBLE) accused Patsy of being the murderer. He was the one that claimed JonBenet's brother, Burke, could be heard at the end of the 911 tape.

WOOD: Absolutely, and that information was leaked out from the Boulder Police Department in September of 1998. Again, allegedly the smoking gun, the objective proof that the Ramseys were lying.

Well, in fact, that conversation is not on that tape. It's been enhanced by the FBI, the Secret Service, they found nothing. I gave it to one of the rival networks, NBC News. They hired two independent experts. They tested it. There absolutely is no voice on there discernible that belongs to Burke or John or Patsy. KING: We had Patsy being interrogated by investigators about the 911 call and whether or not she talked to anyone else at the end of the call. Let's listen to that from 1998.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there any conversation immediately following your last words to the dispatcher?

P. RAMSEY: I don't remember. I was out of my mind. My child was missing. I was trying to convey that to the person on the other end of the line. OK? I don't remember.

Do you have it on tape and would like for me to hear it, I'll listen to it and see if that's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is something.

P. RAMSEY: OK. All right. Well, if you've got the tape and we can play it then I'll try and help you.


KING: And you enhanced the tape, and there was no conversation?

WOOD: The test shows that there was no conversation. And you noticed that when Patsy said, "Play the tape, I'll listen. Maybe it will jog my memory." They don't play the tape.

KING: Where did they get the idea from?

WOOD: You know, Larry, there was -- evidence was established that there was, in fact, a plan by the Boulder Police Department to leak information accusatory to the Ramseys to the media, in an effort to convince the public that they were guilty, to pressure them so that somehow they might confess.

I think that this tape was part of that plan, it's objective evidence of that plan. It was either an intentional fabrication or it was the product of an imaginative but prejudiced mind. Because you listen to the tape as a lay person, there's no way that at the end of the tape the background noise could be a conversation. There's no way that a wall phone could not have been hung up.

It was leaked, it was damaging. It's one of many things that was leaked about this family that I think has led to a public perception that they were involved, a perception, by the way, which I think has dramatically changed in the last several months in terms of how people feel about this family.

KING: Now the public looks at it differently.

WOOD: I think the public gets it. I think that they understand that this family was, in fact, victimized by a biased investigation, a flawed and failed investigation. KING: We'll talk about that and lots of other things with Lin Wood, our special guest tonight on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.



P. RAMSEY: We have a kidnapping. Hurry. Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Explain to me what's going on, OK?

P. RAMSEY: There's a note left and our daughter's gone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A note was left and your daughter is gone?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old is your daughter?

P. RAMSEY: Six years old. She's gone. Six years old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long ago was it?

P. RAMSEY: I don't know. I just found the note. And my daughter's taken.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it say who took her?

P. RAMSEY: What?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it say who took her?

P. RAMSEY: I have a note. There's a ransom note here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a ransom note?

P. RAMSEY: It says "SBTC." "Victory."




P. RAMSEY: If you're asking me if I knew some information that John Ramsey was responsible for killing my daughter, I mean, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


P. RAMSEY: Because I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a long time ago. OK? He didn't do it. I didn't do it. Burke didn't do it. We loved that child, OK? We're not involved. Read my lips.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: We're back with Lin Wood. Is it your contention the Boulder Police never investigated beyond the Ramseys?

WOOD: They never investigated any other potential suspect in a thorough and exhaustive fashion. Except the Ramseys.

KING: They must have had reasons.

WOOD: You know, people...

KING: They must have come to some -- Steve Thomas, who was (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

WOOD: Inexperienced cop. Never had done a homicide investigation before. I mean, it's a fair question. Why would the Boulder police focus so hard on the family? And it's really an easy answer. I mean, you're talking about a police department that was inexperienced in homicide investigation. We're talking about two of the lead individuals, one in charge -- Steve Thomas being the other one -- one of the lead detectives -- who had never investigated a homicide before.

And they went about it the wrong way. And they developed a theory that it must be the family, and so they said, "Now all we've got to do is find the evidence." They looked for six years; they couldn't find the evidence because the family's innocent.

But that same attitude, of we think we know who did it; we just need to prove it, has led to a situation where these police officers and this police department simply cannot admit that it was wrong and that it devastated a family in the process, wasted millions of dollars, because their reputation's at stake and they simply can't admit that they were wrong.

KING: There were weird aspects of it, though, right? The father moved the body, the ransom note was rather crude and weird.

WOOD: Well, actually, John discovered...

KING: If you're kidnapping someone, why leave the body? Why not take the person you're kidnapping?

WOOD: John Ramsey actually did not move the body. He found JonBenet in the basement, and after he'd been asked by one of the detectives at the scene to start going with him, a friend of his, to look through the house. And so he brought her body upstairs.

The ransom note is three pages. It has been analyzed by six individuals who looked at the original note, experts, including a Secret Service examiner. The conclusion is that John Ramsey didn't write it and that Patsy Ramsey probably did not write it. In other words, she's basically on the scale of elimination. There were other individuals who were investigated whose handwriting was closer to the ransom notes than Patsy Ramsey's.

So yes, and this was a brutal murder of a child, sexual assault, strangulation by the use of a garrote, a torture type of murder with a ransom note. It had to be the work of a very sick and perverted mind.

KING: What got you so to believe in your clients?

WOOD: When I first was contacted by the Ramseys, I had watched the coverage. I represented Richard Jewell. I recognized...

KING: Falsely accused.

WOOD: Falsely accused. I had first-hand knowledge that you can't always believe what you see on TV or read in the newspapers.

When the Ramseys came to me in the fall of 1999, they first came to seek my help with respect to their son Burke. Burke had been accused by a number of members of the media, including the tabloids, of being the murderer of his sister.

I took on the case initially because of that, because of what had been done to this child and what he would have to live with for the rest of his life, where he was accused of the murder of his sister, his life's best friend.

And in the process, obviously, they asked me to look at cases for them. I spent time with them. I went out and talked to Detective Lou Smit out in Colorado Springs. Talked to some other folks: a former district attorney, Thurston Hughes (ph), who had worked on the case.

There was no doubt in my mind from talking to the Ramseys and from learning the evidence that they were, in fact, innocent, that they had been falsely accused.

KING: Now, Detective Lou Smit, you mentioned him, he appeared on this program, the veteran investigator, on the intruder theory. Let's watch a brief segment of that interview.


LOU SMIT, DETECTIVE: I believe that there is evidence pointing towards an intruder, strong, credibly evidence. I believe that sometime during December 25, 1996, someone got into the house of John and Patsy Ramsey. I believe there is some evidence to suggest strongly that he may have come in through a basement window.

KING: And then I remember you telling me about a suitcase.

SMIT: The position of that suitcase when it was first observed by Fleet White (ph) was that it was directly against the wall, directly underneath that open window. There is evidence on top of that suitcase, a very small, tiny, pea-sized piece of glass, which could have come off the shoe of the intruder.


KING: And you mentioned that the new D.A., Mary Keenan, has taken a whole new look. Has she postulated anything?

WOOD: Again, in fact, in April of this year, issued a press statement where she indicated that she agreed with the ruling of a federal judge in Atlanta, Judge Julie Corns (ph), who had issued a 93- page ruling in a case that we were handling in Atlanta, stating that the analysis of the evidence done by her, in that case reviewed by her in detail, for all purposes and conclusions, that the weight of the evidence established that this was a case where an intruder killed this child and not a parent.

Within a few days thereafter, District Attorney Keenan reviewed that order and issued a public statement where she made clear that she agreed with the conclusion of Judge Corns (ph). That she agreed that the weight of the evidence in this case indicates that an intruder killed JonBenet Ramsey.

And she said in that public statement that she presumed the Ramseys to be innocent and she intended to treat them as such.

There's no doubt in my mind, because I met with Mary Keenan before she took this case over in December. I've met with her since then. I know what she has said. I know the actions she has taken, and it's very clear that the days of the criminal investigation of John and Patsy Ramsey are over. They are not the focus of this investigation, and Mary Keenan is looking for the killer of this child. She's looking for the intruder.

KING: Did she express sympathy to the Ramseys?

WOOD: I was actually there with the Ramseys in February of this year, when they went out with me to Colorado and met with Mary Keenan and her first assistant, Bill Nagel (ph). And I stayed for a few minutes, and they met alone for three or four hours without me.

And I have to tell you that the first thing Mary Keenan did was she extended her hand to John and to Patsy and then she extended her sympathies to them for the loss of their daughter. And she noted that she thought she was probably the first Boulder public official to ever say that to them, and she was right. She was the first.

And I remember watching Patsy's expression and how it touched them that finally someone was treating them like victims, parents who had lost a child, and not like criminals, and that's the way they had been unfairly treated for six years before.

KING: How is Patsy, by the way? She's ill, isn't she?

WOOD: Patsy has suffered a recurrence of cancer last year. She's undergoing chemotherapy, but she is -- and she's ill for a few days, obviously from the side effects of the treatment, but then she's back, up and at them. She looks good. She has a very positive attitude. Her prognosis is good.

She may have a type of cancer that's going to have to be managed over the course of years. But right now everybody's very optimistic, including the doctors.

KING: They will never recover from this. Will they?

WOOD: No. Nor will their children, and Larry, nor will their children's children.

KING: Back with more of Lin Wood, the attorney for the Ramseys. Don't go away.


P. RAMSEY: She wore this one several times. She wore it at the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) pageant in Atlanta. I was on cloud nine watching her, because (UNINTELLIGIBLE) energy and made me proud. People try to make it seem ugly and something that it wasn't, and I just know how much fun it was. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since that day, have you given any thought, even for a minute considered that John may have been involved in some way in JonBenet's murder?

P. RAMSEY: Absolutely no.


P. RAMSEY: Not a moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thought never crossed your mind?

P. RAMSEY: Never crossed my mind.


P. RAMSEY: That man loved his children. Period. End of statement.


KING: We're back with Lin Wood.

Is there indications that the new D.A. is pursuing the intruder theory, or is this a dead case?

WOOD: No, this is a very active case, and she is, in fact, pursuing the intruder evidence. Lou Smit, Lou Smit, 32 years as a homicide investigator, 200 cases worked, 90 percent success rate. He worked the case back in 1997 and '98 for the district attorney's office, and then he resigned because he felt that an innocent family was going to be unjustly prosecuted. He believes very clearly in the Ramseys' innocence.

One of the first things that Mary Keenan did when she took this case over was she brought Lou Smit back into the case. Since that time, I've provided her with all of the witness statements that had been obtained by the former Ramsey criminal investigators. She's met with the Ramseys' former investigators, she's met with John Douglas (ph), former FBI profiler. She's hired another very experienced and well thought of investigator in Colorado, Tom Bennett (ph), who's going to be working up to 30, 40 hours a week on the case.

There's no doubt about it: Mary Keenan is going to pursue the intruder evidence. While her resources might be limited, her dedication to justice for JonBenet is not limited.

And if you look at what we now know, that I didn't learn until just the last few months, about the DNA evidence, I think this case can, in fact, be solved.

KING: You do?

WOOD: Absolutely.

KING: I'll pick up on that in a moment. I want to get in one more tape for us. John Ramsey in August of 2000 is being interrogated and he's being questioned about fibers of his shirt, right, being found in JonBenet's underwear. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Ramsey, it is our belief, based on forensic testing, that there are hairs that are associated -- that are -- that the source is the collared black shirt that you sent to us, that are found in your daughter's underpants. And I wondered if you could...

JOHN RAMSEY, JONBENET'S FATHER: (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I don't believe that. I don't buy it. If you're trying to disgrace my relationship with my daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Ramsey, I'm not trying to set you off ...

J. RAMSEY: Well, I don't believe it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move on. You'll have to move on.


KING: Where did they get that from?

WOOD: A lie.

KING: Because that would be conducive, wouldn't it?

WOOD: Well, first, it's an interrogation, and police don't have to tell you the truth when they interrogate you. And it's a well- known interrogation technique to act like or to give information that you've got more evidence than you really have.

But I've actually gone to confirm that, whether that's true. And it is not true. There were no black fibers consistent with the shirt that John Ramsey owned that were found on his daughter's underwear. That was an absolute lie. It was as John Ramsey described it in the terms that he used. He was dead on with that description.

KING: What, in your own mind, Lin, tells you that a kidnapper would, instead of kidnapping, write a ransom note but kill the person, garrote the person right there? What -- it's nonsensical.

WOOD: I don't have the type of mind that can conceive of how one could do that, could even think about doing it. But we know that it was done here. We know that someone went into the home of Elizabeth Smart, in the bedroom with her sister, and took her out of that house at gunpoint or knifepoint.

We know that just recently, in the last few days, a man was arrested for a 1987 murder of a 10-year-old child who was strangled in her home while her parents slept. DNA evidence, 16 years later, got him, brought him to justice.

There are people out there, Larry, that have the ability to do this type of thing. And you and I don't understand it.

KING: So logic doesn't work.

WOOD: But it happens. It absolutely happened.

KING: Why are you confident they're going to find someone?

WOOD: Because of the DNA. You know, you probably heard along the way that the DNA evidence in this case was not necessarily of good quality, that it might even be contaminant. Although there was a point in time when the Boulder police were clearing people based on DNA, but not the Ramseys.

Here's what we now know. We knew that there was foreign male DNA found in -- under the fingernails of both of JonBenet's hands. Foreign meaning it was not the Ramseys. Male.

There was also a spot of blood. Intermingled in that blood was foreign male DNA. Not the Ramseys.

Now, I've learned in the last few months, since Mary Keenan took this case over, that in fact, there was a second spot of blood, both of these spots of blood being in the crotch area of JonBenet's underwear.

In 1998, someone finally said, "You know, we never tested the second spot of blood. Let's do that." They did test it, and the results came back in 1999, and the results were strong. It has nine clear markers and a 10th marker which is just at meeting the standard.

And the reason that's important is because you have to have 10 markers to submit that DNA into the federal FBI CODUS (ph) databank.

One of the things that, I think, establishes without question the bias of the Boulder Police Department is that they never, at any time, made any effort to try to get the DNA evidence in this case into any of the state DNA databanks or into the FBI CODUS (ph) databank system.

And Larry, that may come up with (UNINTELLIGIBLE) now. It may be a year.

KING: How do you capture someone, though?

WOOD: Well, with the CODUS (ph) databank, it actually keeps not only the DNA on convicted violent criminals, it also maintains the DNA from unsolved cases.

KING: Oh, it does.

WOOD: It does. And this DNA is not just strong enough to exclude, this DNA is strong enough to identify. And no efforts were made to get it into the databank. That is a priority, the number one priority of the new investigation by Mary Keenan.

KING: We'll be right back with Lin Wood on LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I first spoke with you, I explained to you that if ever there was going to be an intruder on trial, the defense is going to be that you did it. Remember that?

J. RAMSEY: I remember that, but I'm not here to prove my innocence. I'm here to find the killer of my daughter.



KING: We're back with Lin Wood. We realize that people tune in and out of television. You may have joined us a little late, and this occurred at the beginning of the program. And so for the benefit, as we used to say on radio, of later tuners-in, we're going to repeat that 911 call that Patsy Ramsey made on the early morning of December 26, 1996.

It took Lin years to get this released. Let's listen.


P. RAMSEY: Police -- 755 15th Street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's going on there, ma'am?

P. RAMSEY: We had a kidnapping. Hurry, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Explain to me what's going on. OK?

P. RAMSEY: We have a -- there's a note left and our daughter's gone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A note was left and your daughter's gone? P. RAMSEY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old is your daughter?

P. RAMSEY: Six years old. She's gone. Six years old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long ago was it?

P. RAMSEY: I don't know. I just found the note. And my daughter's taken.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it say who took her?

P. RAMSEY: What?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it say who took her?

P. RAMSEY: I have a note. There's a ransom note here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a ransom note?

P. RAMSEY: It says "SBTC." "Victory." Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. What's your name?

P. RAMSEY: Patsy Ramsey. I'm the mother. Oh, my God! Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I'm sending an officer over. OK?

P. RAMSEY: Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know how long she's been gone?

P. RAMSEY: No, I don't. Please. We just got up and she's not here. Oh, my God. Please.


P. RAMSEY: Talk to somebody.


P. RAMSEY: Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take a deep breath for me, OK?

P. RAMSEY: Please, hurry, hurry, hurry.



KING: Lin, what do you make of Dr. Henry Lee, the famed criminologist, been on this show many, many times, who said, "The manner of this death is still a questionable issue. Is it really a homicide? An accidental death? We really don't know." What does he mean by "accidental death?"

WOOD: I have no idea what Dr. Lee means. I mean, I know he has a lot of opinions in almost every high profile case. I have respect for him, but in this particular case, Larry, he hasn't been involved in this case to know the evidence since back in 1998.

KING: He was called in, wasn't he?

WOOD: He was called in by the Boulder Police Department on a limited consultation. And the fact of the matter is, I'm confident that Henry Lee, as a man of integrity, that if he looked at the entire evidence, all of the evidence, just like Mary Keenan has done, an unquestionable person in terms of her integrity, I think he would conclude the same as she, that the evidence in this case clearly weighs that an intruder killed the child.

KING: You mentioned the federal judge ruling. What was that all about? What was that case?

WOOD: Civil lawsuit filed against the Ramseys by an individual who claimed that they had wrongfully identified him as a suspect in their book, "The Death of Innocence." Sued them, saying that, in fact, Patsy killed JonBenet and John knew it, therefore, they published this statement about him with actual malice, as the law calls it, knowledge of falsity.

The judge in that case, Judge Julie Corns (ph), who is an experienced trial judge, 10 years plus on the bench, and before that was a very experienced federal prosecutor, she carefully analyzed all the evidence.

And in what I think would be described as an unprecedented ruling, she issued a 93-page decision in March of this year where she carefully put the evidence out there, analyzed it, discussed it, and then drew the conclusion that the evidence against this family amounted to little more than the fact that they were in the house the night that their daughter was murdered. She concluded that the weight of the evidence was, in fact, that the intruder killed this child and not a parent.

And it was thereafter that Mary Keenan issued her public statement, urging people to read that opinion, describing as a carefully worded, well thought out, well analyzed opinion, the conclusion of which she agreed with.

So you have the district attorney coming out publicly on the intruder side of the evidence after a federal judge has done so -- and I want to tell you something, Larry. It's just not coincidental that these are two female professionals.

And I think when they saw the brutality of this child's murder, while they can conceive that a mother could do something like that, I think they said, "Well, if we're going to believe it, show us the evidence." And they went to the evidence, they looked at the evidence objectively, they realized what the evidence showed, that it was not the mother, and then they had the courage -- they had the courage to publicly tell the world what the evidence was.

Judge Corns (ph) and Mary Keenan. I think they ought to be commended for what they did for this family after all the years of injustice they have suffered.

KING: I seem to remember a night here where the attorney for one of the tabloids was on and then you followed him.


KING: Did you sue the tabloid?

WOOD: For Burke Ramsey, I did. We had three cases -- ultimately they settled, confidential in amount, but settled in favor of the Ramseys.

KING: All three?

WOOD: All three of the cases against the tabloids. We have had other cases that have also been concluded successfully for the Ramseys.

Every case that I have handled in terms of either suing for the Ramseys or defending the Ramseys, they've won every case.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) William Connolly (ph) in one.

WOOD: It was. Good lawyers.

KING: He represents the "Enquirer," I know.

WOOD: He did. I'm not sure they do now.

But I want to make that point, that the Ramseys, when they have been in a court of law they have won every time. And I think, as I mentioned earlier, that they are now finally winning in the court of public opinion. And this smear campaign that went on for years...

KING: How did you hold up, you and them hold up during the tabloid times when it was almost every week?

WOOD: Well, I will tell you something, they hired me in 1999. I wish they'd hired me a lot earlier, because if they had, I think the Ramseys would own the tabloids now. Meaning that a lot of those things that were said about them, accusing them of being pornographers, devil worshipers, drug addicts, accusing John Ramsey of molesting his oldest daughter, Beth, who died in a car wreck in 1992.

The sad thing is that the lawsuits, by virtue of the statue of limitations, couldn't be filed by the time I got involved. Otherwise, they might have owned those tabloids. And knowing John and Patsy, they would have yanked them off the market, you wouldn't have to see them when you walk by the check-out at the grocery store.

KING: Has anyone other than Lou Smit in the earlier part of the case come around to new thinking? Has any Boulder cops said, you know, Steve Thomas or somebody said, "You know, maybe I was wrong"?

WOOD: There were a number of individuals who were involved in the investigation in the first few months who felt strongly that the intruder evidence was strong and it was not being followed.

Thurston Hughes (ph) I mentioned, a former assistant district attorney, a police officer named Steve Ainsworth (ph), who's recognized out in Boulder as one of the best homicide cops still working. Individuals in the D.A.'s office. Mary Keenan worked on this case early on. An individual named Pete Hosterman (ph), who kept a very open mind.

All of those individuals that felt like the intruder evidence was strong and was not being followed were mysteriously removed from the case in 1998 before the grand jury was convened. So that the only people involved as a practical matter were the people who were bent on this idea that the Ramseys had to do it.

KING: When we come back, I'm going to ask you if the Ramseys should have done something, anything different.

We'll be right back with Lin Wood. Don't go away.


J. RAMSEY: We will find you. I have that as a sole mission for the rest of my life.


P. RAMSEY: Likewise. The police and investigators have assured us that this is a case which can be solved, you know. You may be eluding the authorities for a time, but God knows who you are, and we will find you.



KING: We're back with Lin Wood. Is there anything, in retrospect, the Ramseys should have done they didn't do?

WOOD: In terms of how they dealt with the Boulder Police Department, I really don't think so. If you look at the truth of how that investigation turned against them within a matter of days, I think that the criminal lawyers, the former lawyers, felt like they had to protect their interests. And unfortunately, when criminal lawyers protect your interests and your rights, they end up basically giving the appearance of treating you like you're guilty. And that's just the way criminal lawyers do.

KING: You're not a criminal lawyer?

WOOD: I'm not. My only criminal experience is the Richard Jewell case and the Ramsey case, where I've been involved with law enforcement for those reasons. But here, what I would have done differently -- of course, hindsight is 20/20. John and Patsy Ramsey, I would have had them out, or someone out for them. I would have knocked down every false story the minute it happened. And the minute somebody puts on a headline that the family is involved or Patsy Ramsey murdered her, I would have filed a lawsuit.

I would have shown, very early on, that this family was not going to tolerate those accusations. Despite the fact that they were being made while they were still under investigation.

But that's the perspective of a lawyer that thinks that you need to be very proactive and aggressive when you're dealing with innocent clients. That's not necessarily going to be the perspective of a criminal lawyer.

But the bottom line was the criminal lawyers were right. The system worked in that they were not unfairly charged. They were not indicted. But when the end of the day came, the grand jury didn't indict them. The public thought they were guilty.

KING: Should they have taken a state-sponsored polygraph?

WOOD: No. I wouldn't let any client of mine do it. I didn't let Richard Jewell do it, wouldn't let the Ramseys do it...

KING: Why not? Why not?

WOOD: Because it's not a scientific instrument that determines the truth and lies.

KING: You don't like it?

WOOD: I know it for what it is. I mean, the truth is, it is an interrogation tool. It is an investigative tool that law enforcement uses as a method of interrogation and intimidation. And there's no upside for you.

If they think you were involved and you pass, if they are willing to pass you, they're not going to stop investigating you. But more likely, they're going to say it's inconclusive, or they're going to say you didn't pass. But they're going to use that as a way to interrogate you after you take the test. And that's what it's really designed to do. And that's the way law enforcement looks at it, and I wouldn't let any client do it, because particularly where you have a police department as prejudiced as this department was against this family.

KING: I want to discuss in a little bit some of your other clients in our remaining moments, but another thing on the Ramseys. How's Burke doing? How old is he now? What's he doing?

WOOD: Burke is, I'll describe him as a typical 16-year-old. He is as handsome a young man as JonBenet was a beautiful girl. Beyond that, I'll decline to talk about Burke because out of respect for him and his privacy. John and Patsy have really done a great job in trying to shield Burke...

KING: He's a nice boy. I met him.

WOOD: He's a nice boy, and they tried to shield him from these false accusations and it's been tough. But they wanted him to try and kind of grow up as normal as he could in terms of the environment. They've done a great job, and I think he's going to be a fine young man.

I worry about him in terms of the future. I worry about the media going after him.


WOOD: Psychologically, sure. I mean, this is a situation where, you know, one day it may come crashing down around him, the things that happened to his sister and to his mother and father, his family. The things that were said about him.

But I also worry about him because I think he's going to be pursued by the media. I think as Burke gets older, I think there are going to be people out there that are going to be chasing down, wanting that first interview with Burke Ramsey. And so I worry about him from that perspective.

KING: How's John doing?

WOOD: John is doing well.

KING: Working?

WOOD: He's still looking for some type of gainful employment.

KING: He's not been employed?

WOOD: He has not. He's worked for a couple of groups of guys that have been working on some start-up businesses, where he's tried to give them some assistance -- he's a great businessman -- in hopes that maybe that would develop into some full-time employment. That's what he's still doing.

KING: How are you getting paid?

WOOD: Well, my pay was from the lawsuits that I filed, in terms of the libel cases, the defamation cases. I work on a contingency fee for the Ramseys. What I do for them in terms of sitting here and talking with you, what I've done in terms of dealing with the Boulder Police Department and a number of other matters, I'd say 50 percent of my time I don't charge for.

KING: Because you have total belief in them?

WOOD: Well, I do. And plus, the fact of the matter is, John and Patsy have already spent a lot of their money, if not all of it, giving it to lawyers. I feel better when I take from the bad guy and give it to them and take my part on the way. KING: Are other lawsuits possible?

WOOD: There is an additional lawsuit that will be filed against the Fox News Channel, arising out of coverage of the case in December of last year, where, despite the reporters' knowledge about this mountain of evidence of an intruder, they put on an anniversary piece about the case, saying that after six years there had never been any evidence linking an intruder to the crime. Absolutely false.

KING: And you're suing them?

WOOD: It is going to be filed within the next couple of weeks.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Lin Wood, right after this.



KING: We're back with Lin Wood in our remaining moments. They have arrested the accused Atlanta bomber. How's Richard Jewell doing? The non-Atlanta bomber?

WOOD: Richard is happily married, working as a police officer in a small city in northern Georgia, trying to maintain his status as a private citizen again and a public official. And he's doing OK. Richard is a remarkable person, as I find the Ramseys to be.

KING: You won for him court cases against CNN?



WOOD: Yes.

KING: Still got one against the "Constitution"? The "Atlanta Constitution"?

WOOD: Still pending against the "Atlanta Journal." Six years we've been fighting that battle.

KING: Now Gary Condit, you're representing him in what, the lawsuit of Dominic Dunne?

WOOD: I represent former Congressman Condit in the lawsuit filed in New York against "Vanity Fair" author Dominic Dunne, who's obviously a fellow that's appeared here frequently on your show.

KING: In fact, some of the comments were made on this show, right?

WOOD: Well, some of the remarks made, but primarily a story that he told about an eyewitness who claimed to have seen Chandra Levy abducted, had firsthand alleged -- firsthand knowledge of Gary Condit asking, in fact, people to get the job done for him. All an absolute, total lie.

KING: Isn't his defense going to be he was a journalist reporting what he heard?

WOOD: Well, his defense is that he was only stating an opinion, but the fact of the matter is he was actually relating an eyewitness version of what happened to Chandra Levy and what Gary Condit's role in it was. That's not opinion.

Now, the fact is, he was relaying it as third hand. He heard it from someone who had learned it from another person. But he thought it was enough in terms of its strength, that he took it to the FBI, Dominic Dunne did. And he wanted it investigated, and he did what he could to get it investigated. And he believed it.

It wasn't an opinion, it was fact. It was absolutely false. And you know, the question becomes, are we going to allow someone basically to come on TV under the guise of being a journalist or a writer and engage in nothing more than rumor mongering, where you can go out and without any accountability accuse someone of a horrible crime. I don't think we want to get there.

KING: Did you always have faith that Condit was not involved?

WOOD: You know, I try to give the presumption of innocence to individuals in this kind of a situation, where they have been under investigation, but they haven't been charged. They're under siege by the media and by an unholy alliance of the media and law enforcement.

It's a no-win situation, and so I presumed Congressman Condit at the time to be innocent. I disagreed very much publicly about the way how he handled the situation in terms of his interview. But I am absolutely convinced that Gary Condit, whatever people may say about him, in terms of his private life, I'm absolutely convinced that he had nothing to do whatsoever with the kidnapping and murder of Chandra Levy. Otherwise, I wouldn't be representing him. That's what I tell my clients.

KING: Because of the people you've defended and get involved with, are you open on the Scott Peterson matter?

WOOD: I give Scott Peterson the same presumption of innocence that I would give these other individuals. Now, obviously his case has moved to a different level. He has now been charged with murder, and that gives members of your profession a lot more leeway in terms of what can be said about him.

But I am not a fan of all the talking heads that come on at night and speculate about whether someone killed another person, when those people really, Larry, don't know what they're talking about. They don't know the evidence. They don't know the facts. They're speculating on what they might have heard in the media or something that allegedly might have been leaked by someone unknown. They might have their own agenda.

But at least with Scott Peterson, he's going to have an opportunity now to have his day in court and put forth evidence and let the public know what evidence exists so that we can, in effect, make up our minds, not on talking heads speculation but on the actual evidence presented. That's what we ought to be forming opinions upon, not people's speculation.

KING: Is that one of the dangers you see in the media, that we overdo this, and speculation is a natural occurrence?

WOOD: I saw an article the other day and it's called "Murdertainment." "Murdertainment," where it just seems to be a fascination with the 24-7, where you've got unlimited hours. You know, if you look at the people that come on and talk about these cases, I mean, it's almost the same folks that have been doing this since the days of O.J. Simpson. It's a cottage industry that sprung up out of the O.J. Simpson case, and they're still out there talking. They've got an opinion on every case.

KING: Thank you, Lin.

WOOD: It's always good to see you.

KING: My good friend. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

We also invited, by the way, Boulder Police investigator Steve Thomas, former Boulder district attorney Alex Hunter, Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner (ph) and the new Boulder district attorney, Mary Keenan, to come on, as well.

We'll be back in just a moment to tell you about the weekend. Thanks to Lin Wood. Don't go away.


KING: By the way, our interview with Queen Noor, previously promoted for tonight will be aired next week.

Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE on the weekend, Dolly Parton will be repeated. And Sunday night we've got a great show for you, with Arianna Huffington, Walter Isaacson on Ben Franklin, and the return of Yanni.

Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. "NEWSNIGHT WITH AARON BROWN" is next. Good night.


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