A Colorado newspaper reporter backed by a press advocacy group sued Boulder's district attorney Wednesday to try and gain access to a 1999 indictment that was voted on by the JonBenet Ramsey grand jury but never prosecuted.
Charlie Brennan, a reporter with the Boulder Daily Camera, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed suit against DA Stan Garnett this week, urging him to release the indictment that charged John and Patsy Ramsey with child abuse resulting in death, the Daily Camera reported.
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"The plaintiffs believe ... that the indictment is a criminal justice record that reflects official action by the grand jury, and accordingly that it is subject to mandatory disclosure upon request," attorney Thomas B. Kelley wrote in the complaint. "Alternatively, they argue the indictment should be disclosed to the public because such disclosure would serve the public interest in government transparency and not be contrary to the public interest nor cause undue adverse effect upon the privacy of the individual."
Brennan filed the suit independently of his employer.
JonBenet Ramsey was a 6-year-old beauty queen whose murder became a media sensation after she was found bludgeoned and strangled in the basement of her parents' home in Boulder, Colo., a day after Christmas in 1996. Though her family members were long considered suspects, the case was never solved.
At the time of her murder, then-Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter claimed that there wasn’t enough evidence against her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, but new sources, including members of the grand jury, confirmed in January that Hunter failed to mention that he refused to sign a 1999 indictment that the jury voted on.
Hunter left office in 2001 after 28 years as Boulder County's district attorney.
The Ramseys remained prime suspects until they were absolved in 2008 by the district attorney's office, citing new DNA testing techniques. Patsy Ramsey died two years earlier in 2006 from ovarian cancer, still a suspect in her daughter's murder.
Child abuse that results in death is a Class II felony that carries a maximum sentence of up to 48 years in prison.
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