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  Brill's Content
Posted by: jameson245 - 08-28-2017, 06:43 PM - Forum: Frank Coffman - No Replies

By Katherine Rosman
Issue Date: February 2000


Time is by no means the only mainstream media organization that has looked to those who employ tabloid tactics to get the goods. Outlets such as Dateline NBC and The New York Times have turned to a Boulder gadfly named Frank Coffman to keep them competitive in their JonBenét coverage.

Coffman, 52, is something of a town crier in the saga. A resident of Boulder for more than 20 years, he once lived a quiet life making Halloween masks and writing occasional columns for a Boulder weekly newspaper. But that was before his town's serenity was rocked by the murder of a little girl. As an accident of proximity, Coffman says, he became entangled in the case.

On December 11, 1998, in his downtown Boulder apartment, which looks like a graduate student's crash pad, Coffman's phone rang. John Ramsey's standing on a street corner by your apartment right now! cried the caller.

Coffman took the cue: He snatched a camera and dashed out the door. Coffman saw Ramsey standing on the street corner with his son, a friend, and one of Ramsey's lawyers; with his heart pounding, Coffman raised his camera, aimed, and fired.

Ramsey wasn't pleased to see Coffman with his camera hoisted. "He attacked me," Coffman says, claiming that Ramsey lunged at him and grabbed his jacket before one of Ramsey's attorneys, Michael Bynum, stopped the potential brawl. (Bynum did not return phone calls seeking comment.)

"I was not stalking him," Coffman says without being asked. Still, he adds, it's "kind of weird to take a picture of somebody like that. I wouldn't do it to anybody else...but John and Patsy Ramsey are fair game."

Despite the scuffle, Coffman snapped a few shots, though the camera's flash didn't go off for the one picture that captured Ramsey allegedly lunging at Coffman. "If that flash had gone off, that would have been a fabulous picture," says Coffman. "It would have made him look so damn guilty. Because people would have said, 'Ah-hah! Here he is. The killer,' " Coffman purrs, adding, "and I don't know that Ramsey killed anybody."

But whether Ramsey killed anyone matters little when you've got an exclusive picture. Coffman says the incident surrounding his photography was reported in an Internet chat room and that once the word was out that he had a few photos of John Ramsey, his phone was ringing like a car alarm in New York City. "The New York Times called me," he says. "I didn't try to sell it, but they said, Look, we want to buy this, we want to publish it, so I said, Okay.

Why not?"

The Times ran one of Coffman's pictures on December 16, 1998, along with an item that described the alleged tussle with Ramsey. Coffman says he made $150 from the sale of the photo. (In addition to getting work from the Times, Coffman says, he has peeped through the windows of the Ramseys' former home in Boulder, taken photos, and sold them to Schiller's movie production team. The photos helped the producers properly re-create the crime scene.)

That the Times considers it newsworthy that a "stalkerazzi" photographer claims to have had his collar grabbed by John Ramsey indicates how far even the most legitimate of news outlets have gone for a JonBenét story. Asked about the paparazzi-like photo, Times deputy picture editor Mike Smith said, "We don't encourage or look for that kind of work."

Coffman says he is not a profiteer seeking to make hard cash off the death of a kid. "I never tried to make money on the Ramsey case," says Coffman. "I never asked anyone to send me money....They just spontaneously-all these people who were so desperate to get information and photographs and whatever on the Ramsey case."

Coffman admits that he now accepts retainers from various media outlets in case he finds himself in possession of information they want, but won't say which outlets. "I'd rather retain my freelance independent status," he reasons.

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  Pilot Archuletta tabloid story
Posted by: jameson245 - 08-28-2017, 06:41 PM - Forum: Disproving Myths - No Replies

From Brill's Content February, 2000

For many reporters, getting the story out ultimately became more important than getting it right. And context was hardly the only element missing. Tabloids such as the Globe, which kept JonBenét on the front page for three years (and counting), fabricated stories outright, says Jeffrey Shapiro, a freelancer who exclusively reported for the Globe from February 28, 1997, to February 11, 1999.

Such a manufactured news bulletin began, Shapiro recalls, over the weekend of August 22, 1998. Shapiro was facing more pressure than usual to find a blockbuster headline. Just a few days before, the National Enquirer had landed the biggest tabloid scoop of recent months: "911 Call Nails Brother in Murder Cover-Up-And It's On Tape," blared the Enquirer.

Shapiro had been a tireless tabloid soldier. He admits that short of paying his sources and breaking the law, he would do anything to live up to his e-mail address: jbsavenger. He pestered people he believed had information; he climbed trees to peek through windows to watch police investigations of the Ramsey home; he even tried to get close to the Ramseys' minister by pretending that he wanted to convert from Judaism to Christianity.

Shapiro defends his tactics even as he betrays his lack of perspective about how big of a deal the Ramsey case is. "Do you believe in undercover journalism?" he asks. "If you were a journalist who knew you had to go undercover to break up a big drug ring that was the cause of death to innocent people or to even solve one of the two mysteries-what is on the missing 18 minutes of Watergate tapes or about the grassy-knoll assassin who shot President Kennedy-would you go undercover? I would. I would in a second," he says with complete earnestness.

Days after the Enquirer's 911 scoop, Shapiro's editor had a big lead for him. Late in the night, on August 22, 1998, Shapiro says, one of his editors, Joe Mullens, called him at home to tell him that Mullens had found a source with the perfect juicy nugget. The lead, Shapiro recalls, was that John Ramsey had handed his pilot, Michael Archuleta, a box potentially filled with evidence, such as the cord used to strangle JonBenét and the tape found covering her mouth. (Mullens referred questions on this topic to the Globe's press representative. So did Tony Frost, the paper's editor. The press representative declined to comment.)

Shapiro says that when his editor filled him in on the details of the tip, he questioned the accuracy of the main source, who turned out to be Archuleta's brother. Apparently, in addition to telling Mullens about Ramsey's having allegedly dropped off the murder weapon at his pilot's home, Archuleta's brother gave Mullens another tip that Shapiro knew was demonstrably incorrect-the details of a conversation Shapiro knew could not have taken place.

Mullens defended his source, Shapiro says, telling the young reporter that although the pilot's brother may have been wrong about the conversation, he was sure about the box delivery. Shapiro says he wasn't convinced.

But Mullens assigned Shapiro to look into the tip anyway, and Shapiro went to stake out Archuleta's house. After waiting for hours, Shapiro called Mullens to inform him that nothing was happening.

Just wait. The police are on their way over to Archuleta's, Shapiro says Mullens told him.

How do you know? Shapiro says he asked.

Because we called the police and told them, so we know they'll be heading over there, Mullens replied, according to Shapiro. Shapiro kept at his post.

Meanwhile, inside the house, Archuleta got a phone call from a Globe editor. According to the pilot, the Globe editor said that Archuleta's brother had told the Globe that John Ramsey had given Archuleta a box of evidence. Would he care to comment? The Globe editor inquired.

Archuleta told the editor that he had been estranged from his brother for about five months. "If you're taking information from my brother, that shows me how stupid you people are," he recalls having told the Globe editor.

Soon after, Archuleta says, an investigator contacted him to tell him that law-enforcement officials were going to come out to his house that night to ask him about information that had just been called in from the Globe. The pilot says he had told the investigator that the police knew from extensive prior interviews that he had not been at the Ramseys' house the morning after the murder. Archuleta says he asked, "Why do you guys chase your tail around every time a Globe reporter calls?" The investigator told Archuleta that they had to follow up every lead, and if the tabloid press wrote that law enforcement had a tip that they didn't look into right away, the police department could get fried in the mainstream papers. (Mark Beckner, chief of the Boulder Police Department, declined to comment while the Ramsey investigation is still active.)

Sure enough, the police arrived at the pilot's house late in the night, Shapiro was there to capture the moment, and the Globe had its headline: "World Exclusive! Cops probe breakthrough charge in Little Beauty murder case...JonBenét: dad caught hiding key evidence. Ramsey hid deathbed sheets, girl's nightie and stuffed animals in box, then gave it to pilot-says source." The article included only one word of Archuleta's comments: "inaccurate."

From the beginning, the story was never based on legitimate sources, according to Shapiro: "They initiated the whole thing...fed it to the police, got the police to react on it so they could write the story."

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  Playing the odds
Posted by: jameson245 - 08-28-2017, 06:28 PM - Forum: odds and ends - Replies (1)

I agree with investigators, BORG and IDI, that when a very young child is brutally killed in their own home it will usually be a domestic incident.  After all, how many enemies can a child have and how many intruders really are daring enough to enter a home with a full family on site?

But the fact is, some intruders ARE that daring and are willing to do this kind of horrible crime.

Reviewing Thomas' book today, I came across some interesting statistics on page 33.

In child murders, and this includes ALL child murders, not those limited to the child's home
                         54% of the time the killer will be a family member, it will be a domestic incident.
                           6% of the time, the killer will be a STRANGER
Which means 40% of the time it will not be family but will be someone who knows the victim - like a neighbor or someone from their school or church.

Considering the FACT that there is not a single know case of a parent murdering their child with a garotte, and that we have foreign DNA found mixed with her blood from the sexual assault that took place that night, I think the odds it was either a stranger or (more likely) an acquaintance go up to 99.9%

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  Steve Thomas' book
Posted by: jameson245 - 08-28-2017, 06:17 PM - Forum: Footprints in the snow - No Replies

From page 19 - hardcover

Sgt. Reichenback ...."saw no fresh foot impressions, found no open doors or windows, nothing to indicate a break-in, but walking on the driveway and sidewalks left NO VISIBLE PRINTS."  (jameson's emphasis)

Considering both John Fernie and Scott Gibbons saw the door to the butler's kitchen open and unattended early that morning, I have to wonder just how hard Sergeant was looking at the time.  There was at least one open window - deliberately left open to run electrical cords to the Christmas decorations and there was ONE broken window where an intruder could have gotten in.  I think his report would say he didn't notice anything, be shameful if he stated as fact the house was securely locked up.    

But that is not the subject of this thread.  

Point is, even Steve Thomas admits the walks were clear and not covered in snow.

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  From Brill's Content
Posted by: jameson245 - 08-28-2017, 06:07 PM - Forum: Footprints in the snow - Replies (1)

This is just part of a larger story



On March 10, 1997, Charlie Brennan, a 15-year veteran of the Denver Rocky Mountain News, was sitting at his desk in the newsroom when a colleague tapped him on the shoulder and gave him a tip about the JonBenét Ramsey case. It sounded like a good one, so Brennan, 44, followed up by calling a man Brennan characterizes as a "law-enforcement source."

The source confirmed the information Brennan's colleague had passed along: The police noted in their initial report that there were no footprints in the snow outside the Ramsey home the morning after the murder. This made it unlikely that an intruder had entered the home. Brennan scribbled down notes, made a few more calls, and hunkered down to write his page 4 report:

Police who went to JonBenét Ramsey's home the morning she was reported missing found no footprints in the snow surrounding the house, sources said Monday.

That is one of the earliest details that caused investigators to focus their attention on the slain girl's family, police sources said.

Although there was no significant storm just before police went to the house the morning after Christmas, it had snowed lightly several times from Dec. 23 to 25, weather records show.

Brennan's scoop was as close to a smoking gun as anything publicly known at the time. Until that point, a broken basement window on the south side of their home meant an intruder could have gotten into the house and killed John and Patsy Ramsey's daughter. Now a lack of footprints in the snow indicated otherwise.

Brennan's findings made national headlines, appearing in publications such as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Chicago Tribune, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the San Francisco Examiner. Even The New York Times reported Brennan's findings. (Those papers' combined readership is 2,519,501.) In all, 23 publications and news programs picked up the report, according to a search on the Lexis-Nexis database.

His No Footprints In The Snow scoop solidified Brennan as an important force on the Ramsey beat. When journalists from national publications began parachuting into Boulder to get their share of the action-such as Vanity Fair's Ann Louise Bardach, and Lawrence Schiller, who had been commissioned by The New Yorker to cover the Ramsey murder-Brennan was the man they called. In fact, when Schiller decided to expand his New Yorker article into a book, he hired Brennan to help with the reporting. (Brennan won't say how much money he made from collaborating on Perfect Murder, Perfect Town. The hardcover and paperback editions both reached best-seller lists.)

Although Brennan was beginning to enjoy the national exposure-The New York Times was reporting his discovery, Larry King Live was calling-his scoop would soon quietly fall apart.

When Daniel Glick heard about Brennan's No Footprints headliner, he thought it was a bombshell. Glick, a former Washington correspondent for Newsweek who now writes for the magazine from Boulder County, even went so far as to say on Larry King Live that if the Ramseys' claims of an intruder were to be believed, the killer must have had the power to "levitate."

But in mid-June 1997, Glick and his writing partner, Sherry Keene-Osborn, both began to question the story's accuracy. Keene-Osborn said she got a call from an "impeccable source" who warned her that much of what ran in the newspapers and magazines (including Newsweek) was flat wrong. Glick says he raised an eyebrow when, while visiting the Ramseys' Boulder house, he noticed that flagstone surrounded its south side.

They started re-reporting Brennan's scoop. Glick says he found a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who told him that there was little snowfall and that the temperature had been mostly above freezing in the week prior to the murder. Glick says he then deduced that because there were no leaves on the trees to block the sunshine from reaching the flagstone patio outside the broken window, there probably wasn't any snow on the ground outside the broken window-even though there were patches of snow on the lawn. To confirm, Glick says, he contacted a "frost expert" who told him that scientifically one couldn't even determine whether or when frost would have been on the ground outside the window. In other words, the police notation of "no footprints" was meaningless; it certainly did not rule out the entrance of an intruder.

Glick and Keene-Osborn wrote a story that questioned Brennan's reporting. The article was largely ignored by other print outlets, though Geraldo Rivera mentioned Newsweek's report on Rivera Live and Glick discussed his findings on two episodes of Larry King Live. Given the relatively little play by the media outlets that had so quickly picked up Brennan's No Footprints piece, Glick and Keene-Osborn's piece hardly made a dent in what John and Patsy Ramsey's attorney now calls "the greatest urban legend of the case." In fact, five months after Newsweek disputed Brennan's story, The Washington Post reported that "from the start, circumstances surrounding the crime focused suspicion on the parents....There were no conclusive signs of forced entry at the home and no footprints in the snow that fell that night."

The importance of the No Footprints story, Brennan contends, is not whether there actually were footprints or not. Rather, he says, his report showed the direction in which the police investigation was heading: By noting a lack of footprints (wrongly or rightly), the police were clearly considering the potential guilt of the Ramseys. "What I reported was that police noted in their reports an absence of footprints," says Brennan. "That's not Charlie Brennan saying, 'Hey, there was an absence of footprints.' I'm saying, 'Hey, the police put it in their reports.' And they did! They did! That was never wrong."

But when The New York Times ran its story about Brennan's No Footprints article, the paper didn't play up the aspect of the direction of the police investigation. The Times's headline was "No Sign Of An Intruder At Home Of A Slain Child."

To Glick, Brennan's piece unfairly threw a dark shadow on the Ramseys and forever cast them as the homicidal parents. Again, Brennan disagrees: "The public opinion train was way out of the station by the time that story broke," he asserts.

For many reporters, getting the story out ultimately became more important than getting it right. And context was hardly the only element missing. Tabloids such as the Globe, which kept JonBenét on the front page for three years (and counting), fabricated stories outright, says Jeffrey Shapiro, a freelancer who exclusively reported for the Globe from February 28, 1997, to February 11, 1999.

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  Shall Be The Conqueror
Posted by: jameson245 - 08-27-2017, 03:48 PM - Forum: SBTC - No Replies

John Mark Karr once used these words when writing in a classmate's yearbook.

Since I have never liked him as a suspect I will only say he was cleared by DNA and never could prove he was in Colorado at the time in question.

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  Saved By The Cross
Posted by: jameson245 - 08-27-2017, 03:46 PM - Forum: SBTC - No Replies

According to those who would accuse Patsy of this crime, SBTC stands for Saved By the Cross and proves Patsy did it because she was a Christian.

No evidence she ever used that acronym but BORG likes the explanation since it points to family.

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  Santa Barbara Tennis Club
Posted by: jameson245 - 08-27-2017, 03:43 PM - Forum: SBTC - No Replies

According to his girlfriend, suspect Chris Wolf had an article of clothing that had those initials on it and stood for Santa Barbara Tennis Club.

Chris Wolf's handwriting was considered a possible match according to my sources but he was cleared by DNA.

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  Subic Bay Training Center theory
Posted by: jameson245 - 08-27-2017, 03:40 PM - Forum: SBTC - Replies (2)

John Ramsey was in the Navy and for a while he was stationed in the Philippines.  BORG gossip spoke of a plaque found in the Ramsey basement that commemorated his time there and suggested the sign off found on the note stood for SUBIC BAY TRAINING CENTER.

In truth, that is simply BORG bull.

I have a photo of the plaque - - it does NOT say anything about Subic Bay Training Center - not at all.  Truth be told, there never was any installation going by that name.

In the center of the plaque is some carving and then a ring around that - a ring of words surround the ring.  On the top it says, "U.S. NAVY PUBLIC WORKS CENTER".  And on the bottom, upright so it can be easily read, it says "SUBIC BAY PHILIPPINES"  Stars divide the two notations.

Simply put, SBTC does not stand for Subic Bay Training Center as suggested by BORG.  The plaque they pointto does not exist.

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  From Lisa Ryckman story
Posted by: jameson245 - 08-20-2017, 01:26 PM - Forum: Pam and Kristine Griffin - Replies (6)


For Pam Griffin, a friend of Patsy Ramsey's who designed many of JonBenet's pageant costumes, it has been a year of proving herself a true and loyal friend -- but not without a cost.

This has taken from me a vulnerability I had hoped never to lose,'' said Griffin, who has often found herself as Patsy's lone defender on television talk shows.

A person who always greeted others with a hug, Griffin now tends to keep her distance; trust takes time.

"Now I just don't feel comfortable around a lot of people, and I always felt comfortable around everybody,'' she said. "I resent the tabloid media taking from me the right to be vulnerable if that's what I choose to do. That was something I hoped to keep all my life.''

The endless video loop of JonBenet in pageants, decked out in elaborate costumes designed by Griffin, has brought her some new clients, although she lost more than $30,000 in business from customers who disapproved of her Geraldo appearances. But despite the seemingly universal criticism of kiddie pageantry, the Colorado pageant circuit is booming -- thanks in part to JonBenet.

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