Charlie brennan
who I consider a friend
Man: Friday, Dec. 27th, while police activity at the house intensified, in nearby Denver that morning, a local newspaper ran the first story hinting police suspicion about the Ramseys. It quoted an assistant District Attorney saying it was very unusual for the kidnap victim's body to be found at home. "It's not adding up." he said. Reporter Charlie Brennan said he knew from the beginning the parents were the only real suspects.
Charlie Brennan: I certainly have, I had that sense at that time, I had that sense at that time, yes. I had the belief that the police were under a strong suspicion from the very beginning that it had to be the parents.
Man: A local television reporter who also covered the story on the 27th drew the same conclusion.
Julie Hayden, TV Reporter: Early on there, definitely before the five o'clock newscast, we were
beginning to get the sense that the police were not hunting Boulder for some mad kidnapper – That
the police were looking more inside the family.
Man: From now on, a clear pattern was to emerge in the news coverage. While police chief Tom
Koby said little, others in law enforcement continually leaked information. Often it was misleading
information intended to implicate the Ramseys. The pattern began that day. A story was leaked that
suggested ONLY a family member could have murdered JonBenét.
C Brennan: I had a trusted law enforcement source tell me the first officers there noted that it was
rather strange, they thought, NO footprints in the snow outside and this is a source that has been
infallible in my experience.

From JonBenets America
Man: By the following day, Saturday, Dec 28th, police and media were closing on the Ramseys. That morning, Denver's Rocky Mountain News, intimated they were suspects. The story introduced the issue of footprints in the snow which began the first part of the media's case against the Ramseys -
That no one else got into the house.
C Brennan: When police first arrived, at least one officer noted in his report, thought it was worth
noting in his report, strange - no footprints.
Man: The absence of tracks in the snow was later reported as among the first clues that led police to suspect members of the family. Soon, another story appeared -- There had been no break-in. Charlie Brennan covered that too.
C Brennan: That was coming from law enforcement sources, and you know, I know that you know
this is a story that was heavily reported through unnamed sources and I'm not going to name the
source now but law enforcement sources were telling us from December that they saw no signs of
forced entry.
Kurtis: It is now clear that from the beginning, the media, fed by leaks, reported one alleged fact after another, which taken together could only implicate the Ramseys. How solid are those so-called facts? Take the story that there were no footprints in the snow and that therefore there was no intruder. News video shot on the night of the 26th shows large areas around the house had no snow at all. The lack of footprints was irrelevant, as even some journalists knew at the time.
Man: What is the basis for these claims. Take the snow cover that night. News video's shot on the night of the 26th shows large areas around the house had no snow at all. The lack of footprints was an irrelevancy as some journalist knew at the time.
Julie Hayden: We looked at the video tape, once this footprints in the snow started becoming an issue and one of the things I observed was, there did not seem to be snow going up to all of the doors. So in my opinion, this footprints in the snow , to me it has always been much ado about nothing because it seemed clear to me that people could have got into the house, whether they did or not, without traipsing through the snow.
Man: Nevertheless the story stuck. Even more doubtful was the claim of no forced entry. An intruder would not have had to break in. Police noted on the 26th a number of open windows and at least one open door – A story that curiously took a year to leak out. And beneath this lift up grill, there was a basement window that was known to have been broken sometime before Christmas
Tracey: Would it be reasonable to assume that the information about 'no forced entry' was false
information that was being leaked by the authorities
C Brennan: False, false, wrong, misstated, mistaken, yes - that would be fair to say. Particularly in
light of where you can start at least from the broken window in the basement. In Jan. 97, Feb. 97,
March 97, we didn't know that there was broken window in the basement.
Man: The reality of the situation is that an intruder could easily have got in, and once in, moved around undetected and unheard. From her parents bed on the third floor, it is no less than 55 feet and one floor below to where JonBenet was sleeping. There are thick carpets, sounds do not carry. And there is no hidden room. A carpeted spiral staircase, a few feet from her room, leads to the kitchen. From the kitchen it is only a few steps to the door to the basement stairs. At the bottom of these stairs, at the end of a short corridor is the room where her body was found.
Man: Monday, the 30th of December, the Ramseys had now returned to Atlanta to bury JonBenét and a story about how they got there fueled feeling against them. Reports said that John Ramsey piloted his family in their private jet.

Charlie Brennan: I was told he flew it so I reported he flew it.

Man: Did you subsequently follow up on that story?

C Brennan: I didn't subsequently follow up on that story because in the early days that did not stand out as something in my mind that needed a lot of scrutiny, and as soon as I say that, I suspect that what one's concern might be is that creates an image of a man that may be is the wrong image. I mean maybe - perhaps you can tell me it wasn't his own plane or that he didn't fly it.

Man: It wasn't his own plane and he didn't fly it. Access Graphics, John Ramseys company, had now been bought by Lockheed Martin and they'd sent one of their company jets.
John Ramsey: We were just devastated and it was very difficult for us to go to the airport and buy tickets. Of course we had media all over the place and that was just a wonderful thing for them to do. It meant so much to us that they delivered us from Denver to Atlanta along with a few friends and got us back to Atlanta.
Former Boulder Detective Makes His Case In Book
... A Case He Couldn't Make In A Courtroom: That Patsy Was To Blame
by Charlie Brennan
April 2000

Nobody else is saying it, so it appears this falls to me:
Steve Thomas is the little kid who, protesting a call by the ump, takes his bat and ball and quits, bringing the game to an end for everyone.
Thomas is the former Boulder police detective who resigned in protest over the handling of the JonBenet Ramsey murder, and is now telling all in his book published Tuesday, April 11, by St. Martin's Press, "JonBenet -- Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation." It is co-authored by veteran Boulder County non-fiction writer Don Davis.
If there was any question as to whether this case might someday be prosecuted, that question has been answered. It won't. Thomas empties his three years of bitter frustration onto the pages of a book that, while compelling reading for any Ramseyphile, could also serve as exhibits A-through-Z for defense attorneys, should this beleaguered case ever limp battered and bloodied into a courtroom.
We pause for this disclosure: I am far from a disinterested observer in this matter. I worked for 16 months in collaboration with Lawrence Schiller on another Ramsey book, "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town," published in February 1999.
It was, I feel, the definitive book on the Christmas night 1996 murder of Boulder's six-year-old child beauty queen -- until now. A significant number of law enforcement personnel cooperated with Schiller and myself by sharing details they felt could be divulged without compromising the investigation or precluding a future prosecution.
Certainly, we didn't cast all players in an entirely positive light. We exposed bizarre subplots to the drama -- police and prosecutors dallying with a tabloid reporter to advance their own personal vendettas, for example -- that left many shaking their heads in disbelief. The tales of extreme dysfunction between and among some officials involved in this case are already widely chronicled.
Thomas now picks the scabs and the blood is flowing anew.
He holds nothing back in his quiver, blasting District Attorney Alex Hunter ("a Teflon politician who was always one step removed from any carnage left behind by his office"), both the Boulder police chiefs he served under (mocking former Chief Tom Koby's affection for "bluesky psychobabble"), and even dumps on many peers in the detective bureau. The infallible and unforgiving Thomas is not the kind of person you want to unwittingly cut off in traffic.
In an interview with the Denver Post, Thomas declined to say whether the book was based on his own notes or case files. I can answer that one. It's clearly based on case files, some of which he obviously must have carted home sometime before or after noisily throwing down his badge on Aug. 6, 1998.
Readers can see that for themselves as early as page 14, where Thomas and Davis reprint a verbatim transcript of Patsy Ramsey's call to 911. It's all there, down to the last "(inaudible)." As a student of the case who was outside the Ramseys' home to see JonBenet wheeled away past the twinkling white Christmas lights in a body bag, I know this transcript has previously appeared nowhere else. It's not part of any file that is open to the public.
Thomas not only violates the spirit of the oath he took as a law enforcement officer. He also tramples two citizens' rights to a presumption of innocence.
His book makes the case Thomas couldn't make in a courtroom. He flatly declares Patsy committed the murder in a fit of rage over bed-wetting, and that her husband joined the next morning in a cover-up. Thomas isn't alone in embracing such a theory. But this is the first time a central figure in the investigation has dared say so for the record.
In writing "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town," Schiller and I certainly had our own theories, but we spared readers our conjecture. Instead, we clearly laid out the reasons that many believe the Ramseys are guilty, and the reasons that others consider them innocent. We invited readers to draw their own conclusions.
Call me old-fashioned, but for a former detective to unilaterally issue his own indictment through a publisher and not a courtroom, in a case still under investigation, is flat wrong.
Thomas had no experience as a homicide investigator prior to arriving on this stage. He couldn't put together a case that would stand up in a courtroom. Not to be denied, he's doing so in a book. Here, he's unbound by such distractions as the rules that govern evidence.
It should be noted that Thomas walked away from law enforcement one month before a grand jury was even convened in this matter. That panel worked for 13 months after he was gone and still couldn't come up with grounds to indict John and Patsy Ramsey or anyone else.
If I can be forgiven another baseball analogy, it's as if Steve Thomas is the would-be slugger who whiffs in every at-bat during the big game -- then smacks it over the wall off a batting tee in front of the vacant seats after the crowd's gone home.
The product of Thomas and Davis' labors is, no question, essential reading for anyone with an interest in the child murder heard 'round the world. This is the first book published to date from a key participant in the investigation. Its pages carry the ringside sense of intimacy.
But by doing it this way, at this time, Thomas does a disservice to the couple he accuses, to the officers he leaves behind, and most of all, to the memory of a little girl whose murder is now far less likely to be avenged.
There is this irony. Thomas believes Patsy Ramsey struck her daughter in a rage -- then, mistakenly believing JonBenet already dead, applied a garrote to disguise the crime as something else. In taking that second, bizarre step, Thomas believes, Patsy Ramsey then actually killed JonBenet for real.
The ex-detective may well have done the same, misreading this case as over -- then making darn sure that it is.

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