JonBenét's brother from John's first marriage - - McLean interview
I was very young when Dad met Patsy and I don't remember much about the first years. I know I was comfortable in both homes and, although I knew Patsy wasn't my mom, she had that role when I was with her and my dad. She encouraged us in our activities but never pushed us into anything. She was interested in all that I did , whether it was Boy Scouts, sports or school activities. I have good memories of growing up. It's not just the vacations and special times, but it's the general everyday things that made a loving and caring family relationship.
I am 10 years older than Burke, but we can still enjoy Play Station together! I was 14 years older than JonBenet and I loved her very much.... we made lemonade together. I know it is accurate to call them "half" brother and sister, but none of us has ever felt we have half a relationship. Burke and JonBenet are my brother and sister. They've never called me "half" brother, they call be "big" brother.
And I resent having to even talk about Dad and Patsy like this I don't see a need to defend our family. Why do we keep having to say we are a normal family? The outlandish, false things that are said are just what the media has made up about us. There is nothing previously in our lives to indicate that we are anything but a loving family yet we have to keep defending ourselves. Dad and Patsy are great parents. What else can I say?
JAR - 22 years
"Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, JonBenet and the City of Boulder"
Written by Lawrence Schiller and Charlie Brennan - 1999
PMPT Page 66 (paperback)
"Meanwhile, Melinda Ramsey, John's twenty-five-year-old daughter from his first marriage, arrived at the Justice Center. She had been called for a formal interview about her movements over the last few days. An hour later, her brother would be interviewed at the same place.
The Ramseys' attorneys and the police had agreed on this location as neutral territory. The police would have preferred to see them at headquarters, but since John Andrew and Melinda were cooperating without independent counsel, the detectives accepted the Justice Center as a reasonable compromise.
Detective Kim Stewart interviewed Melinda for almost two and a half hours. Detectives Ron Gosage and Steve Thomas questioned her brother from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M.
Twenty-year-old John Andrew was obviously upset, but he was composed enough to explain that he was a student at CU and had been in Boulder until December19. Then he had gone to Atlanta to spend the first part of his vacation with his mother, Lucinda Johnson, and his sister and friends. Then the plan was to continue his vacation with his sister, father, stepmother, and their children. He said his father had arranged to meet him and his sister in Minneapolis at about 10:30 A.M. on December 26, and from there they would all continue to the house in Charlevoix, Michigan.
In the months that followed, the police would confirm that John Andrew, his mother, and her friend Harry Smiles had attended the Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta on Christmas Eve and that John Andrew had returned to his mother's home at 1:00 A.M.
Melinda, who worked at a hospital in Marietta, Georgia, finished her shift at about 7:00 A.M. on Christmas Day. That afternoon, John Andrew, Harry Smiles, Melinda, and her boyfriend, Stewart Long, exchanged gifts at Lucinda's home in Marietta. In the afternoon they all went across the street to a neighbor's for dinner.
Melinda and Stewart Long left the dinner party about 7:00 P.M., and Melinda started to pack for an early flight the next day. At 9:00 they went to visit Guy Long, Stewart's uncle, and after visiting other friends were home by midnight. At about 8:30 P.M., John Andrew went to his friend Brad Millard's home in Marietta to play video games. After an hour, they left to catch a 10:30 show at the Town and Country Movie Theaters in Marietta with another friend, Chris Stanley.
John Andrew said that after the movie he went back to Brad Millard's house to get his car and arrived back at his mother's house at 1:00 A.M. The next morning he left his mother's house with Melinda, who had come there to pick him up. Together they boarded a flight to Minneapolis at 8:36 A.M. local time. That was forty-four minutes after Patsy called 911 to report that JonBenet was missing."
PMPT Page 301
"Two and a half months after the Boulder police began investigating John Andrew and Melinda Ramsey, they received the final pieces of evidence that cleared Ramsey's older children of any involvement in JonBenet's murder.
Bryan Morgan wrote to Detective Thomas on March 4 stating that John Andrew had made an ATM transaction at the QT Store on Roswell Road, in Marietta, Georgia, at 9:00 P.M. on December 25. His friend Brad Millard had been present. To support his claim, Morgan enclosed the ATM transaction slip. He also repeated that Melinda had awakened her brother in the early morning hours of December 26, in time for him to stop at a store and still make an 8:30 A.M. flight to Minneapolis. It was impossible for John Andrew to have flown from Atlanta to Boulder, whether by commercial or private aircraft, commit the murder, and return in time to be awakened by his sister in the presence of Brad Millard, who had stayed overnight in John Andrew's room.
Morgan also wrote that John Andrew hadn't been in Charlevoix, Michigan, on either the Memorial Day or the July Fourth 1996 week. The accusation of a onetime police informant that John Andrew had tried to stage an "accidental death" in order to kill JonBenet was clearly preposterous. Morgan again requested an official announcement that John Andrew was no longer a possible suspect.
By now the police had received the test results from John Andrew and Melinda's hair, blood, and handwriting. At the time, the only possible match to evidence found at the crime scene was the pubic hair found on the white blanket in the basement, which held some slight similarities to Melinda's. But her alibi was even tighter than her brother's, and it was not likely that she had used the same blanket when she stayed with the family. The next day the police informed the DA's office that they would make a public statement regarding Ramsey's older children within the week."
“JonBenet, Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation”
by Steve Thomas and Don Davis - 2000
"The Ramseys were among dozens of people who would give handwriting exemplars in the case. To keep the comparisons accurate, we had them all write a mock business document, called the London Letter, which incorporates a variety of characters and punctuation. They also, wrote a series of words from the ransom note- Mr. Ramsey, John, withdraw, family, attache, daughter, S.B.T.C., your, delivery, 100%, killing, instructions, countermeasures, $118,000, difficult, authorities, and bank.
While Arndt handled the writing samples, the elder kids of John Ramsey from his first marriage were made available for interviews and evidence samples.
Melinda Ramsey, twenty-two, wore a white pullover and jeans, and her eyes were puffy from weeping. She was attractive and polite when a detective and a sheriff's investigator began questioning her, but by the time the interview was done she was left with her head buried in her arms, crying. They had pressed her hard about the possibility of inappropriate sexual behavior in the family. Melinda vehemently denied that, and in fact revealed nothing of significance, since she was in Atlanta at the time of the murder. She had been caught in a web not of her own making, and the interview left her with a bad taste about dealing with police.
Gosage and I interviewed twenty-year-old John Andrew Ramsey. He was a lanky young man with dark eyes and short dark hair, who wore a checkered shirt, a winter jacket, and an attitude. When the blood tech moved close with her needle, the former Eagle Scout, who was now a third-semester sophomore at the University of Colorado, whispered, "I may pass out."
Although he also claimed to have been in Atlanta when the crime occurred, we had to check him out because of the neighbor who had reported seeing him on Christmas Day. We had to determine who was right.
We asked him to put his thoughts on paper, and he wrote a document that brimmed with feelings about his little stepsister being murdered, giving us a glimpse into his world. He caught our attention immediately by writing, "I think it was someone that had intimate knowledge of my family and how we lived day to day. Why would they leave the ransom note on the back staircase instead of the front?" Good question, I thought. How would a stranger know which stairway Patsy Ramsey would come down that morning?
He ridiculed the idea of a small foreign faction being involved, was certain the crime had nothing to do with his father's company, and questioned why a ransom note was left at all. "Why did they ask for $118,000? I could pay that amount," he wrote. Someone was envious of their wealth and thought of the Ramseys as "rich bastards," he said.
John Andrew told us that whoever did this was probably uneducated, were amateurs at kidnapping, and had seen the movie Ransom, in which the family of Mel Gibson's character was a "spitting image" of his own. He did not believe anyone came in through the broken basement window. They had a key, he surmised.
In one comment, he described his stepmother as "flashy" and guessed that the killer might be someone close to her.
John Andrew also buttressed the comments of the housekeeper's husband, Mervin Pugh, and former nanny Suzanne Savage about the house being difficult to navigate. "You don't know your way around real easy right off the bat. . . . You have to open lots of doors. It has lots of ups and downs," and the basement entrance was hard to find. It was becoming very clear to the police just how difficult it would have been for any stranger to get to that distant basement storage room."
Posted by jameson on Jul-19-01 at 02:03 PM (EST)
Quotes from an email from John Andrew - - posted with expressed permission.
M=Melinda, S=Stewart, J=John, P=Patsy
The topic being discussed was John telling Stewart that he found the body at 11.
"After M, S and I arrived in Denver we proceded to the house. As soon as we arrived J and P were in the street, they had just found JB. It was a bad scene. Very quickly S and I got in John Fernies van with my dad. Melinda went with Patsy in I think Fleets car. NO ONE WAS THINKING. We just got in the nearest car and drove. NO THOUGHTS. That is when my dad told us he found JB and she was dead. NO THOUGHTS. We prayed and drove to the Fernies. I would imagine that is when Stewart got his information, I was probably sitting right there but I don't remember.
"...my parents were destroyed. They were not thinking about their own butt, or covering up any crimes. They were just not plainly thinking straight. No one was, or could think."
"I will never be able to explain the feelings and thoughts of that day. From the moment of the phone call with my dad until we arrived in Denver was maddening. We had to get on a plane, that was first. I was constantly scanning the crowd, for what I have no idea. By the time we were on the plane I had come to the realization that JB was dead. A couple of weeks earlier I had watched a Geraldo show about kidnappings, they had the parents on, none of the kids had survived. I knew the chances were not good, I just prayed that she was not in any pain. I don't think you would call it an out of body experience b/c lots of my senses were heightened. I was scared, angry and nervous. However, other functions shut down. I was not rational, I was not thinking ahead, I was not thinking at all. It is survival instincts at their best. Survive in the moment and not worry about the future."
"My point is this. To build a case around the hours following the crime are ridiculous. Behavior can not be accounted for during these times. It would seem much more logical to seek answers in the other fifty plus years of ones life, rather than the moments of one's darkest period."
"I can't answer for Stewart, I can't answer for my Dad. I can only provide some insight to the psyche during such a period of high stress."
Because Brad Millard had slept in JonBenet's bed when visiting John Andrew in Boulder (family traveling elsewhere) his DNA was checked and he gave pubic hair samples. According to PMPT, page 248 (paperback), there was no match.
Later he was a witness to JAR being in Atlanta - Investigated by Steve Thomas and Ron Gosage. At 9:00 P.M. on Decembere 25th, Millard was with John Andrew during the ATM transaction at the QT Store on Roswell Road, in Marietta, Georgia
February 13, 1997
The JonBenet Ramsey murder case grips Boulder in a sensationalist media frenzy
By Chris Brown
Campus Press Staff Writer
If the members of Chi Psi fraternity had come downstairs last semester to find a prowler wandering through their chapter house, they would have been shocked. When it actually happened last month, somehow they weren't really surprised.
Twenty-year-old John Andrew Ramsey's fraternity, like many people with a connection to the Ramsey case, was the target of a fierce media blitz in the days and weeks following the murder.
One desperate reporter from a tabloid-television news program went so far as to let himself into the fraternity one day to search for information that could be used in a story, fraternity members said.
The avalanche of national media that came crashing into Boulder in the days following the discovery of 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey's body in the basement of her family's home, moved quickly to gather information and locate sources.
But with the Boulder Police department, keeping details of the investigation under tight wraps, journalists soon found themselves at a loss for story material. Before long, CU students and faculty found themselves the targets of interviews, questions -- even bribes.
The university's public relations office began fielding calls from inquiring reporters looking to interview faculty members soon after the murder.
"It hasn't dominated our work," said Pauline Hale, director of public relations. "But we have had a number of calls."
Marianne Wesson, a professor of criminal law at CU and a former federal prosecutor, was one of a number of faculty members to whom Hale's office referred reporters. Journalists contacted Wesson dozens of times, asking her to explain aspects of evidenc e law, police procedure and investigative processes.
She appeared more than once on the CBS Evening News to talk about issues surrounding the Ramsey case and said the reporters she talked with were very polite, even a welcome distraction in some cases.
"When I was useful enough for it to be satisfying it was great, but on some more intense days it was disruptive and cut into class preparation," Wesson said. "Overall though, I'd say it was fun."
"Fun" is not the word members of Chi Psi would use to describe their experience with the media. "Harassment" might sound more accurate to them. Before classes even started Jan. 13, the chapter house on 14th Street was swamped by journalists, some from as far away as Scotland, interested in digging into the personal life of JonBenét's half-brother.
Someone rifled through the fraternity's mail, the house received phone calls at obscene hours, and members had more than one strange experience with reporters.
Chi Psi member Will Lamb dealt with a strange episode one night when he got a call from a man who wished to speak with fraternity president, Chad Conrad.
"This guy made it seem like there was some family emergency he had to talk to Chad about," Lamb said.
"When he realized I wasn't going to help him, he told me he didn't necessarily have to talk to Chad, that if I answered some questions he would pay me as much as $1,000."
Lamb refused the offer, keeping tight-lipped as all Chi Psi members say they have, and suspecting that no matter what he might have told the reporter, the meaning of his words would have been twisted into something completely different.
Chi Psi's refusal to discuss anything with the media left some already news-starved journalists desperate for information.
The Campus Press was approached by a reporter from the National Enquirer who, turned away by the fraternity, sought to pay a student reporter to gather information from its members.
William Pizzi, another criminal law professor at CU who was interviewed about the Ramsey case, did not encounter the type of tabloid tactics members of Chi Psi did.
He gave about a dozen interviews to reporters, including one that aired on ABC's "Nightline" on Jan. 31. While Pizzi did have to turn down one reporter who wanted to attend a class and interview his students, he said talking with reporters was a pleasure.
"I enjoy talking with these people," Pizzi said. "They're interesting and intelligent, and many of them have worked on very interesting stories in the past."
Pizzi had one condition for the journalists he talked with: He refused to discuss specific aspects of the case itself, agreeing only to discuss the legal issues surrounding it.
"We just don't know enough yet to be discussing the case," Pizzi said. "I respond to questions about the law, and try to avoid speculation."
Gene Nichol, a professor and former dean of CU's law school, said that because of the sparse details being released by the police department, journalists have shown an increased willingness to speculate about the case and have their sources do the same.
Nichol said he doesn't think that the reason some people have had good experiences with the press while others have found journalists is due to the press showing more courtesy or respect to highly-educated faculty members.
"If you're trying to get someone to speculate, you have to be nice to them," Nichol said. "I don't think they're showing deference to anyone, it just depends on what they're after."
Brian Morgan, the attorney representing John *** Ramsey, is teaching an ethics class through CU's law school, and his class has been yet another target for journalists. A group of reporters is often camped outside his classroom, pestering Morgan's students for statements about their instructor.
On Monday, one subject of repeated interviews and photographs apparently reached the limit of how much media attention he could stand.
Jay Elowski, owner of Pasta Jay's Italian restaurant and a friend of the Ramsey family, was arrested after he allegedly threatened journalists staking out his house with a baseball bat.
Police also found a loaded 9-mm pistol in Elowski's possession.
Some journalists in town went so far as to try to get Patsy Ramsey's hairdresser to supply details about the family. Sandra Kennedy said she was surprised that reporters came to her for information were often steadfast in their pursuit of a statement.
"I don't understand how they found me," Kennedy said. "Even when I said no (to an interview request), they were very persistent."
While Pizzi may not yet know enough to feel comfortable talking about the case, it is not because too little time has passed since the murder.
With the investigation entering into its eighth week, the story is not exactly fresh -- yet story after story is published, report after report is aired.
"They're hungry," Pizzi said.
Michael Tracey, a journalism professor and the director of CU's Center for Mass Media Research, said the media's coverage of the Ramsey case is an indictment of the state of American journalism.
"It's appalling," Tracey said of the media's conduct. "American news media seems to develop an obsession with certain stories, and when there is no news, they create news."
Attributing the condition of journalism in the United States to the fact that it is a market-driven industry, Tracey said the Ramsey case has all the ingredients of a story sure to draw a large audience: sex, money and mystery. As such, he is not surp rised by the conduct of the media covering the Ramsey case.
Even if the media in town are behaving in typical fashion and just trying to do their jobs, it is not much comfort to the members of Chi Psi, to Kennedy, or to anyone else with even a remote connection to the case, who will undoubtedly face many more interview requests, pleas for information -- possibly even more bribes.
Conrad summed up what is probably the sentiment of all his fraternity brothers, and possibly many others in Boulder.
"It's just a big hassle," Conrad said. "It's pathetic what they're doing. For John's sake, we just want it to be over with."