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Ramsey's attorneys deny plea story

By Matt Sebastian
Camera Staff Writer


Attorneys representing JonBenét Ramsey's parents made a rare public statement Thursday denying tabloid reports they are negotiating a settlement to end the ongoing murder investigation.
Star magazine, in its May 25 issue, quotes anonymous sources saying settlement talks are underway in the wake of new suspicions about the slain 6-year-old's older brother.
"The report in Star magazine published yesterday and republished in several media outlets is false," Bryan Morgan, John Ramsey's lead attorney, told the Daily Camera on Thursday.
Morgan wouldn't comment further on the tabloid report, which claims 12-year-old Burke Ramsey — who was 9 at the time of the killing — is now considered the focus of the investigation.
Under Colorado law, Burke can't be charged in connection with the slaying, because of his age at the time of JonBenét's death. His parents, though, could possibly be held accountable if investigators determined they played a role in any cover-up.
The Star article was summarized in Thursday's New York Post, which prompted a flurry of media inquiries to the Boulder County District Attorney's Office and the Ramseys' lawyers.
District Attorney Alex Hunter "wants to cut a deal" and is in talks with Morgan's partner, Hal Haddon, the tabloid quotes sources as saying.
Hunter's office joined the Ramsey legal team in decrying the article Thursday. Spokeswoman Suzanne Laurion said reports of plea negotiations are "completely false."
JonBenét Ramsey, a former Little Miss Colorado, was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her parents' 15th Street home Dec. 26, 1996.
The discovery came about eight hours after Patsy Ramsey called 911 and told police she found a ransom note demanding $118,000 for the safe return of her daughter.
John and Patsy Ramsey remain under suspicion in 2-year-old slaying, although they maintain their innocence.
Boulder County's grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case since Sept. 15, although their schedule has slowed in recent weeks. The panel hasn't met since May 4.
Camera staff writer Christopher Anderson contributed to this report

May 14, 1999