August 21, 2006

Another piece of speculation that’s making the rounds is that there’s a possible connection between the ransom note and Karr. I don’t know how people come up with these things, but someone found a note John Karr had written in a high school yearbook, which included the phrase “I shall be the conquerer”. Some think this could corrolate with something the ransom note ended with: “Victory!”, and “S.B.T.C.”. There’s speculation that “S.B.T.C.” matches with “Shall Be The Conquerer”. I dunno. Somehow I think that’s a stretch. My first guess if I were looking at it would be that it’s the initials to someone’s name (some people have more than three names), or the name of an organization of some sort.


Clarifications in case

August 21, 2006

I heard on CNN on Saturday that while John Karr thought he was sending messages to Patsy Ramsey, before she died, his messages were in fact being diverted to law enforcement. She did not read them.

The story about the “mystery” doll has been fleshed out a little further. It was a teddy bear in what was probably JonBenet’s bedroom. A DA who helped out in the case 9 years ago said on the news that John and Patsy Ramsey didn’t recognize the doll at first, but later remembered that it was hers. Given the new evidence, though, it might be prudent to have the doll tested anyway. Given the irrational and eratic behavior of the murderer, it’s possible that the one they found was in fact the perpetrator’s. I only say this because Karr has apparently admitted he had the same doll as a child. Maybe he had it at the time of the murder.

Karr also sent e-mails to C.U. journalism professor Michael Tracy. I’m not clear on this, but it sounds like the investigation began with the e-mails law enforcement received from Dr. Tracy. He was contacted by Karr about a year ago, because he had produced a few documentaries on the JonBenet case. Tracy carried on a correspondence with Karr from then until recently, forwarding e-mails he received to law enforcement.

Is the suspect for real?

August 18, 2006

The stakes have gotten higher in the JonBenet Ramsey case. John Karr has made a public “confession” in a press conference, and it’s left many scratching their heads. The audio was often bad in the clips so I couldn’t glean much information from them. I’m relying a little on statements of his that others have repeated on talk radio and such.

He’s said that he picked JonBenet up from school. Nothing in the evidence suggests that’s true. He said he drugged her, intended to kidnap her, but something went awry, and that’s when she died. He’s also said he had “sex” with her. The coroner’s report said there was no evidence of drugs, or semen. He said her death was an “accident”. I’ve heard some forensic analysts go off on this, saying “No way was it an accident”. Well, let’s just cool our jets a little. I mean, just listening to the guy, you can tell there’s something wrong with him mentally. So in his own delusional way he can say it was an “accident”, but that doesn’t mean we have to take him at his word. Even if he were a more solid suspect, should we take him seriously if he said it was an accident? No, not necessarily.

I wonder if the reason people are getting thrown off is that they’re taking Karr’s words at face value, when they should not. He does sound delusional. It’s possible that his perceptions of what happened do not square with reality. I’m just supposing. I’m no psychologist, so I’m not making a professional determination in any way. But I had the thought, that maybe what he’s saying has some relation to reality, just not totally.

Something I wondered yesterday is if the prosecutors got “seduced” by Karr. Apparently Karr had done a lot of research into this case. Maybe the things that he’s said that prosecutors think “only the murderer would know” were just lucky guesses based on a foundation of real knowledge of the case.

Every legal analyst I heard on this yesterday said that the prosecutors have got to have some forensic evidence to go with Karr’s confession. If all they have is his word their case is going to fall apart quickly. I agree. Boulder DA Mary Lacy’s reputation is on the line, as is the reputation of those working on the case with her. She already has a bad reputation among some Boulderites for some past legal actions she took years ago, especially in relation to sexual abuse cases. Mary Lacy was formerly known as Mary Keenan. She got married recently.

I think the ex-wife’s alibi for Karr will hold some weight. She divorced him in 2001 because he was charged with possessing child porn. This is interesting, because the child porn charge would point to him being a legitimate suspect. Yet her statement is that to the best of her recollection he was with her and their kids every Christmas while they were married. She did say she was going to have to check old photos and the dates on them to make sure. The fact that she divorced him over child porn lends weight to her claim as well. Any sane wife would find her husband dabbling in child porn revolting. So at this point I don’t see a reason for her to lie for Karr.

Another thing legal analysts have said is the prosecutors are going to have to show that John Karr was actually in or around Boulder at the time of the murder.

I was watching Fox News last night, particularly Greta van Susteren. Her off-the-cuff feeling about the guy is that he’s faking this. She had a discussion with Bill O’Reilly on his show, saying that it’s common in murder cases, and perhaps other types, for people to come forward and “confess” to the crime, who are not real suspects. It’s strange, but true. O’Reilly remembered that back in 1997, after the murder, people came forward to the police “confessing” to the crime, but were disregarded as suspects because what they said didn’t add up.

A wrinkle I heard from a friend last night (I think she heard it on a radio talk show) is that John Karr sent a childhood photo of himself holding a doll, to Patsy Ramsey. The story goes he included a note with it saying that the doll he was holding in the picture was his favorite growing up. The doll is the exact same doll that was found at the scene of the crime inside the home after the murder. Apparently the doll was a mystery at the time, because the Ramseys said they did not get it for JonBenet and did not know how it ended up there. Coincidence? Could be, but it’s interesting nonetheless. I wonder if, in light of this new information, there would be a way to conclusively link the doll that was at the crime scene to the suspect. I’ve heard in the past that forensic scientists can look for small microscopic things like pollen, fibers, etc. that can link objects to suspects and locations. DNA analysis on the doll might be asking too much.

Ollie Gray, the Ramsey family’s private investigator for the case said on the O’Reilly factor last night that analysis of the crime scene found two different shoe prints in the carpeting, and that more than one person may have been involved. The problem with this is that John Ramsey contaminated the crime scene by entering the room and picking up JonBenet’s body. Like I’ve said before, I don’t blame him for this, but rather the Boulder police, who should have been the ones doing the searching, with John Ramsey assisting. In any case, one of the shoe prints may have been John Ramsey’s. That’s a possibility that would have to be eliminated in order for this theory to stick.

A possible break in the JonBenet Ramsey case

August 16, 2006

I heard earlier today that a new suspect has been found in the Ramsey murder case. A man named John Karr had sent e-mails to Patsy Ramsey earlier this year containing “disturbing details of the murder” and “details of the murder that were unknown to the public”, to quote news sources. He has also reportedly confessed to the crime, and has been arrested. He is in the process of being extradited to the U.S. from Thailand. According to what’s been reported about him, he used to work as a school teacher in the U.S., and so far the only U.S. addresses found for him are in Georgia. This doesn’t take him out of consideration though, since the Ramseys had long had a home in Georgia. It’s where they’ve lived since moving away from Boulder, after JonBenet’s murder.

Another tidbit reported earlier today said that John Karr’s father was relieved to hear that his son had been found. He said he thought that John was dead, because he hadn’t heard from him for a few years. It’s sounding like perhaps John fled the country sometime after the murder.

Now there are many who feel bad about having thought that JonBenet’s parents did it themselves. But I wouldn’t be so quick to feel bad about it. Let’s recap the history.

JonBenet’s murder in 1996 came on the heels of the case of Susan Smith, who two years earlier had at first claimed that her children had been kidnapped. A call went out to look for her kidnapped children. Search parties were organized to look for them. It was discovered later that she had drowned her own children by strapping them into the back seat of her car and then backing it into a stream, where it became submerged. People felt very betrayed. After this story came to light, police and investigators let it be known that when children are murdered, most of the time it’s one or both parents who do it.

People carried this into the context of the JonBenet murder. According to the evidence there was no forced entry into the house, and no sign of a struggle. There was a ransom note found, and at first it was assumed that she had been kidnapped. Later the police suggested that the parents search the house for evidence. This was a big mistake on the part of the police, but John Ramsey, the father, heeded their advice and searched the house. He found JonBenet’s body fairly quickly in a basement room, and in the commotion of sorrow and pain, he picked up her body and brought it upstairs, compromising the crime scene. The police had searched the house beforehand, but the house was large. It had some rooms that the police did not know existed, and so did not search.

In the public’s eye, this was another Susan Smith case. First there was a supposedly faked kidnapping, and then it was found that their daughter was murdered. Combine that with the other circumstantial evidence, plus the rule of thumb that “it’s usually the parents who do it”, and people could be excused for coming to the conclusion that one or both parents did it.

A year or so later the Ramseys hired their own investigator to look into the case, and he concluded, based on other evidence found, that an intruder had broken into the house through a small basement window. The state investigation team dismissed this notion, saying that the basement window was too small for an adult to get through.

I personally was not convinced at the time that they did it. I have no way of documenting this since I only started this blog this year. I thought that there was a “cloud of suspicion” over the Ramseys, mainly because there was no evidence of forced entry or struggle, plus the ransom note was written on a pad of paper that was in the house before the crime. I think the ink on the note was also found to be from a pen that was in the house. Plus, a “practice ransom note” was found, a note that was started but then discarded. A second one was written in its place. The ransom note rambled on for pages and pages. Whoever did this felt very comfortable in the house, not to mention that the murderer knew the house well. Whoever did it managed to get JonBenet out of bed (the murder happened in the middle of the night) and take her down to the basement without waking anyone else up.

I heard most of the evidence that was released to the public at the time, and most of it was circumstantial. The only thing definite that anyone could hold on to was the ransom note. Handwriting analysis was done on Patsy Ramsey, but even to me this alone seemed flimsy. If I were on a jury I wouldn’t have voted to convict just on that. It’s possible two people’s handwriting might look similar, particularly in non-cursive script, which is what the ransom note was written in.

In hindsight the Boulder DA’s decision not to go to trial on the evidence that was at hand appears to have been the right one.

Patsy Ramsey died a month or so ago from ovarian cancer. The news reported that she had been fighting it since 1994 1993. This was a revelation to me. I had not heard that she was dealing with cancer even before JonBenet was murdered. It sheds new light on something she said after the murder. In a joint interview with her husband, when asked whether she thought about JonBenet she said, “I talk to her often,” and, “I tell her that I will join her soon.” People at the time thought this was strange, because she didn’t give a reason for saying it. Some, including the lead investigator in the case at the time, insinuated that this might be evidence of some kind of psychosis. I was a little puzzled about this myself at the time, but I figured that she’s a woman of faith. She believed in an afterlife, and thought that her daughter’s spirit lived on and she could communicate with her. I didn’t think about it after that. Had she disclosed that she had a history of fighting off cancer, people might’ve understood.

Another thing that was a late-coming revelation to me was that the DNA found on JonBenet’s clothing did not match John or Patsy Ramsey, nor did it match JonBenet herself. I don’t remember this being revealed at the time. If it’s in fact true that it was not revealed I really wonder why not. It could’ve relieved some of the persecution that the Ramsey’s have suffered, because it gives some credibility to the intruder theory.

Patsy Ramsey’s sister said today that Patsy was aware that this man, John Karr, who had been sending her e-mails, was being pursued as a possible suspect in the case, before she died. So she had knowledge that might have given her hope that her daughter’s murder will finally receive justice, on Earth at least.

I’d like to think that Patsy was reunited with her daughter in spirit, and that the reunion was sweet.

I’ll keep track of this. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this on here.

Thank you, UK

August 10, 2006

The UK has been a great ally in the War on Terror. Tonight I heard on Fox News that a terror plot in England was foiled. Some terrorist cells have been reportedly testing the UK’s airport security system and they found a weakness: carry-on luggage. The plot was to smuggle liquid explosives onto at least 20 10 airplanes travelling from the UK to the U.S, using carry-on luggage. The plot was to blow up the planes in mid-flight. This is similar to a terror plot that was planned to take place a few years before 9/11. It involved a similar number of international flights, but the plot was to take place on flights from Indonesia (I believe) countries in Asia to the U.S. Like this plot, the terrorists wanted to blow up the planes in mid-flight.

It’s being reported that most of the suspects involved in this plot have been arrested. They are UK citizens of Pakistani descent. They were caught by a counter-terrorism operation conducted by the British government that’s been going on for several months.

Carry-on luggage is now severely restricted on UK flights. Most items are reportedly banned, except for items that are essential. Flight delays are reportedly long at the UK’s airports, and some flights have been cancelled.

The reason this is such a significant story is that international flights hold a larger passenger capacity than normal, trans-national airplanes. According to Wikipedia, a Boeing 747, for example, holds anywhere from 416 to 524 passengers. Multiply this by 10 and you get an idea of how devastating this would have been had they pulled it off.

This information is just preliminary. Some of it may be inaccurate.

I thank the UK for stopping this terror plot. Good job! You’ve saved anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 lives!

Edit 8/11/06: The formerly secret U.S. NSA international wiretap program assisted in uncovering the plot and identifying who was involved. Liquids of any type in carry-on luggage on U.S. flights are also severely restricted for the time being. The U.S. has put flights from the UK to the U.S. at “red” threat alert status, the highest level. So unfortunately those flying from the UK to the U.S. can expect to be examined with a wary eye.

With this going on it really makes me wonder about the folks who say we can negotiate with Al Qaeda and such. From where I sit it looks like they just want to kill us, no matter our station in society. The people flying on these planes are not government officials, soldiers, etc. They didn’t even target anyone in particular. The people on the planes are like you and me. Such terrorists know no bounds of behavior in warfare. Even negotiation would be seen as an opportunity for them to regroup so they can kill more of us.

Lieberman concedes

August 8, 2006

Sen. Lieberman D-CT conceded defeat in the Democratic primary just a little while ago to his Democratic opponent Ned Lamont. He said he will run as an independent. The Lieberman campaign has been petitioning to get him on the ballot as an independent, if he chose to continue his campaign after his anticipated loss. Lieberman said they will be turning in their petitions tomorrow, which is the last day they can do so.

So, it’s off to the races again for Lieberman. This time the finish line is the November election, for his job. He will not have the advantage of receiving money from the Democratic Party, as that will go to Lamont. Lieberman no doubt has a war chest, but he may need contributions. After his concession speech he asked people of all political stripes, if they are interested in his campaign to please contribute. It’ll be interesting to see what his political rhetoric starts to look like as the influence of others starts to make itself felt in his campaign.

That brings me to my next topic. It’s been widely reported today that Lieberman’s web site came under attack, a denial of service attack (commonly called a DOS for short). Lieberman said today he has asked that this incident be investigated. He said that people can make a contribution at his web site “when it has been unhacked.” Indeed.

Follow-up: Popular Mechanics debunks 9/11 conspiracy theories

August 6, 2006

A friend referred this to me when I mentioned a recent poll by Scripps-Howard saying that 36% of Americans believe that 9/11 was either assisted by the U.S. government, or it was not involved, but knew it was going to happen and did nothing to prevent it.

About 1-1/2 years ago Popular Mechanics published an articled titled “9/11: Debunking the Myths.” The article explains the following stories and claims, quoting authoritative sources for each:

  • The “pod” underneath the right wing of Flight 175
  • The supposed Air Force stand-down order
  • The claim that Flight 175 was a military aircraft or fuel tanker
  • The claim that it’s routine to intercept civilian flights that do not respond to air traffic controllers
  • The claim that the plane crashes could not have caused all the damage that occurred before the buildings collapsed
  • The claim that the steel could not have melted (false premise) at the temperatures reached by the jet fuel fire (also a false premise)
  • The claim that only explosive charges could have created the concrete dust that people saw as the towers collapsed
  • The claim that seismic spikes recorded by seismographs show that demolition charges were set off
  • The claim that WTC 7 was brought down by demolition charges
  • The claim that the impact holes in the Pentagon were too small to be from a plane
  • The claim that a missile must have hit the Pentagon because windows around the crash site were still intact
  • The claim that no airplane wreckage was found at the Pentagon (this is also answered by links in my previous post on this topic)
  • The White Jet at the Flight 93 crash site
  • The claims that Flight 93 was hit by a heat-seeking missile

The article lists 71 acknowledged sources for their investigative piece, some of whom have been quoted in conspiracy theorist literature inaccurately. They said that in all, 300 experts and organizations were consulted for the piece.

You’ll notice that every fact segment for every conspiratorial claim referenced in the article is answered with direct quotes from identifiable experts. This is what scholarship is supposed to look like!